Papers of Dr Anthony John Arkell

Scope and Content

The collection comprises the reports, articles and notes dated c.1919-1947 of Anthony John Arkell. The collection chiefly concerns the archaeology, history and ethnology of the Sudan, together with some administrative papers.

The material of the first deposit was originally sorted and listed by Professor P. M. Holt in 1967. The second deposit was listed by Dr. R. O'Fahey and checked by Professor Holt in 1972. The material from both deposits has been amalgamated according to the original arrangement of the first deposit. It is listing in the following sections: PP MS 71/1 Personal Papers PP MS 71/2 Administrative Papers PP MS 71/3 Material on White Nile Province PP MS 71/4 Material on Genealogy PP MS 71/5 Material on Sennar PP MS 71/6 Material on Darfur PP MS 71/7 Material on Archaeology and Anthropology in the Sudan in general PP MS 71/8 Material on Peoples of the Sudan.

Administrative / Biographical History

Anthony John Arkell was born on 29 July 1898. Educated at Bradfield College and Queen's College, Oxford he was a member of the Royal Flying Corps during the First World War and received a military cross in 1918. In 1920 he joined the Sudan Political Service serving from 1921-1924 as Assistant District Commissioner for Darfur Province and then becoming acting Resident at Dar Masalit (1925-1926). He followed this with a period as District Commissioner for Kosti (White Nile Province) from 1926-1929 and then for Sennar (Blue Nile Province) from 1929-1932. In 1928 he married Dorothy Davidson (d.1945) and was also awarded an MBE. He received the Order of the Nile (Fourth Class) in 1931. He was Deputy Governor for Darfur from 1932-1937. Arkell worked for the Sudanese Government as Commissioner for Archaeology and Anthropology from 1938-1948 as well as being the Chief Transport Officer 1940-1944 and Editor of Sudan Notes and Records, 1945-1948.

From 1948-1953, Arkell was a lecturer in Egyptology at University College, London whilst remaining Archaeological Adviser to the Sudanese Government. In 1950 he married his second wife, Joan Burnell. He was appointed Reader in Egyptian Archaeology in 1953 and held this post as well as that of Curator of the Flinder Petrie Collection of Egyptian Antiquities at University College, London until his retirement in 1963. Following his retirement Arkell entered the Church, becoming Vicar of Cuddington with Dinton from 1963 until 1971. He died on 26 Feb 1980.

Arkell's publications include Early Khartoum, (1949); The Old Stone Age in Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, (1949); Shaheinab, (1953); History of Sudan from Early Times to 1821, 1955 (2nd. ed. 1961); Wanyanga, (1964) and The Prehistory of the Nile Valley, (1975).


The entire collection has been arranged under the original groupings of the first deposit, as follows: personal papers; administrative papers; material on White Nile province; material on genealogy; material on Sennar; material on Darfur; material on archaeology and anthropology in the Sudan; material on the peoples of Sudan.

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Donated in two parts, the first in 1967 and the second in 1972.

Other Finding Aids

Unpublished handlist

Alternative Form Available

Material on Dafur (Ref: PP MS 71/06) has a selection of material available on microfiche. Within PP MS 71/06: file 5, and files 9 and 19 are available on microfiche Ref: M3469; and files 27 and 30 are available on microfiche Ref: M6009. PP MS 71/08/03 is also available as a microform copy Ref: M6009.

Conditions Governing Use

For permission to publish, please contact Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library in the first instance

Related Material

1940 - 1956 Correspondence with O. G. S. Crawford. Bodleian Library (Ref: MSS Crawford); MS 380695 Virgoe, Roger (University of Khartoum)