The stelae and fragments of stelae from the Nile Valley in the Department of Antiquities in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, form an interesting collection, one hundred and twenty-seven in number, ranging in date from Dynasty I (c. 3000 BC) to the Middle Ages. One is a modern piece, included for comparative purposes. A number of Coptic stelae and several inscribed in Greek or with Greek iconographical elements are also included in this catalogue, as are four Carian monuments, one being of particular interest and importance, stemming from recent excavations in Egypt. Finally, four Cufic gravestones round out the picture of inscribed and decorated stelae from Egypt in the Museum.
Of the vast number of surviving Egyptian stelae of all periods, comparatively few have been published as facsimile line drawings, the mode adopted in the present catalogue. Facsimile recording of monuments of necessity involves considerable investment of time, but in the final analysis is doubtless the best way of rendering all iconographical and other details, especially of damaged surfaces. Such details may not be evident even in photographs of high quality. The present author is fortunate in being able to include photographs in the catalogue as well as his own drawings. The design of the publication precludes the reduction of the latter to a uniform scale. However, precise measurements3 are cited in the individual catalogue entries.
In the catalogue the commentary has usually been kept to a minimum, as in other volumes of stelae, notably the series published in recent years by the Department of Egyptian Antiquities (now renamed the Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan) in the British Museum.