Petrie, Sir (William Matthew) Flinders (1853–1942), an English archeologist and Egyptologist. Petrie was the first to demonstrate the great value of pottery for dating purposes, showing that each stage of man's history in the Middle East had a distinctive kind of pottery. His method enabled him to use seemingly insignificant artifacts excavated at Abydos to establish the chronological order of the earliest Egyptian kings.
Petrie was educated privately. He studied ancient ruins in England, 1875–80. From 1880 to 1926 he excavated in Egypt and from 1892 to 1933 was a professor at the University of London. Among Petrie's excavations in Egypt were those of Greek settlements at Naucratis and Daphnae; prehistoric Egyptian settlements at Koptos and Nagada; the temples at Thebes; and the ruins at Tell el Amarna. He worked at the site of ancient Gaza, in southern Palestine, 1926–38. In 1894 Petrie founded the Egyptian Research Account, which in 1905 became the British School of Archaeology in Egypt. He was knighted in 1923.