Margaret Elizabeth “Meta” Williams was living in Liverpool when the first Institute of Archaeology in Britain was being set up at the University of Liverpool in 1904. She studied Egyptology there and was appointed the Institute’s Secretary in 1910.

This role seems to have included informal curation and study of a growing collection of artefacts from Institute excavations in Egypt and Sudan as well as more administrative work.

Meta Williams was credited with ensuring the Institute’s survival during the First World War. She also published her research in academic journals.  When some of the Institute’s artefacts were sold to the Ure Museum in the early 1920s, Meta Williams’ detailed notes on them were incorporated into the Ure’s archives.


Egyptian faience shabti figurine; little remains of the green-coloured glaze, but details in pigment, including hieroglyphs, are still visible. Formerly part of the Liverpool Institute of Archaeology collection, acquired 1923. From Abydos, Egypt, excavated c. 1906 – 1909 under John Garstang’ s direction. 1295 – 712 BC [Ure Museum E.23.53].


Typed letter mentioning Meta Williams’ role in the acquisition of artefacts from the Liverpool Institute of Archaeology in 1923 [Ure Museum Archive Drawer E/23/3.2].

References/Further Reading

Williams, Meta. 1912. Hittite Archives from Boghaz Keui, translated from the German transcripts of Dr Hugo Winckler. Liverpool Annals of Archaeology and Anthropology IV: 90-98.

Williams, Meta. 1942. Hecate in Egypt. Folklore 53 (2): 112-113.

With thanks to Clare Lewis and Ashley Cooke for information.

See another letter from Meta Williams in the Egypt in Britain Drawer of the “Egypt in Reading” exhibition.

Move on to Norah Christina Jolliffe.

Go back to Gertrude (Hill) Hurry.