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Noted English Egyptologist, born in Hardendale in 1797. Wilkinson's parents, John Wilkinson, a clergyman, and Mary Anne Gardner, died by the time he was ten years old. He was assigned a guardian, who saw to his education at Harrow and at Exeter College, Oxford.

John Gardner Wilkinson began his world traveling at the age of twenty, with visits to the European continent. In 1819 he met the Egyptian scholar Sir William Gell while on a 'Grand Tour' through France, Germany, and Italy. Gell’s study of Egyptian hieroglyphics fascinated Wilkinson, and in October 1821 Gell convinced a young John Wilkinson to accompany him to Alexandria, Egypt.

Wilkinson remained in Egypt for many years. While there he traveled extensively throughout northeast Africa, learned to speak the local Arabic languages, studied hieroglyphics, and surveyed the ancient Egyptian ruins, especially those of the Valley of the Kings at Thebes. In 1833 he returned to England and began to publish his research. In 1837 he published Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians in three volumes. This would be his most extensive work, which not only greatened his reputation but also resulted in his knighthood in 1839.

He returned to Egypt four times: in 1841, 1843, 1848, and 1855. He also explored the Mediterranean extensively during this period. In 1848 John Murray published Wilkinson's account of these travels as Dalmatia and Montenegro.

In 1856 Wilkinson married the botanist Caroline Catherine Lucas (1822-81). The couple lived for many years at Brynfield House, at Reynoldston, on the South Wales coast. Brynfield and the Gower peninsula area provided Wilkinson with plenty of ancient British remains with which to study. He went on to write several articles on British archaeology and antiquities.

Sir Wilkinson died in 1875. His professional contribution to Egyptology and the study of ancient Western architecture is exceptional. Also of great value are the very personal watercolors, sketches, and notes from his extensive travels, which record in detail his impressions of the architecture, costume and contemporary society of all the countries he visited. His library and papers are now kept at the Griffith Institute in Oxford. The Tomb of Sir John Gardner Wilkinson and his wife is at Llandovery, Wales.

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