• While the Met expedition to Ctesiphon, Iraq was in the field in winter of 1931/1932 they received word that Winlock, an archaeologist from the Egyptian department, a department to which some of the Ctesiphon staff belonged, had been promoted to the director of the Museum. Around the same time the Near Eastern Art department was being formulated as an independent area of study. The focus on archaeology in this formative era shaped the future of the department, and helped form the focus of the collections. This paper examines the role of archaeology in the careful construction of a museum collection, and explores how excavations like the Ctesiphon expedition both reflected and shaped the Ancient Near East Department.