ROYAL INSTITUTION OF GREAT BRITAIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROYAL INSTITUTION OF GREAT BRITAIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
James Burton (1788-1862), English Egyptologist. Born in London, his family changed their name from Haliburton to Burton. James was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge. After graduating he worked for the architect Sir John Sloane, during a journey to Italy he was approached by the Egyptian government to work as a prospector for the Geological Survey of Egypt, looking for coal. Burton took the post, despite having no geological training. His interest was sparked by the antiquities of Egypt and he made many important excavations at Abu Simbel, Karnak and the Valley of the Kings. He disappeared into the Egyptian desert for nine years, and when his father stopped his allowance he was forced back to England. He arrived with a retinue of servants and a Greek slave girl whom he had married. He was immediately disinherited by his family, and sold most of his collection to repay his debts.
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