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This paper analyzes the debate over the role of John Wilkinson in the development of Egyptology in the late-nineteenth century. Scholars have debated the early importance Wilkinson had during his lifetime. Some argue that Wilkinson’s work was marginalized during his lifetime, and that his research was not fully appreciated until the past twenty years. Here, I demonstrate that Wilkinson’s work formed the foundation for the work of many of his contemporaries. This, coupled with a number of other arguments, indicate that Wilkinson’s work must have been seriously considered among academic circles during his time.