THE work of a legendary archaeologist is being celebrated in an Egyptian exhibition in Blackburn and Burnley this year.

John Garstang pioneered modern techniques of photographing grave goods at the turn of the 20th Century.

Born in Strawberry Bank, Blackburn in 1876, he attended Blackburn Grammar School and Oxford University before starting work for the famous Egyptologist Flinders Petrie in 1899.

Petrie pioneered many modern archaeological techniques and was the first to understand how the pyramids were constructed.

Garstang later became an independent excavator, funded by groups of wealthy individuals who were rewarded with finds brought back from Egypt.

Some of his finds ended up in museums across Lancashire, including Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery and Towneley Hall Museum and Art Gallery in Burnley.

Modern day Egyptologist Claire Ollet, from Knuzden, has used Garstang’s original photos to reunite many of the items.

The 32-year-old said: “He was a pioneer. He was very systematic, recording everything in notebooks, and he took it further by using photographs.

“We’ve got some amazing photographs of his, photos of skeletons in situ in tombs, with pots around them as they were found.

“We also have photos of what life was like in the early 1900s, of him and his assistants working and relaxing.

“Blackburn Museum has mainly pottery he excavated and other stuff which likely came from his excavations, but unfortunately we aren’t 100 per cent sure about some of the items.

“My task was to go in and look at the objects. I’ve identified at least 40 that were his for sure and more than 40 that could be his.

“Very few people have heard of him, its mainly Egyptologist and archaeologists, but he really did a lot of important work.”

Children visiting Blackburn Museum on Saturday took part in an indoor archaeological dig run by Claire, searching for bits of pottery in sand, making notes and drawing objects.

The Garstang Project was funded by Renaissance North West and organised by the University of Liverpool, where Clare completed her degree and masters in Egyptology and John Garstang was once professor of archaeology.

The exhibition will run until March 16. It will start at Towneley Hall in April.