Ancient Egypt

Location: Explorers & Collectors

Finds from tombs of Ancient Egypt, preserved for thousands of years in the dry heat of the desert.

European fascination with ancient Egyptian civilisation began with discoveries made during the Napoleonic wars. Drawings by French cartographers and antiquarians became widely known through publications illustrated with prints. The Reverend Cooper Willyams (1762 - 1816) included sketches of items found by his shipmates in his published journal, who were part of the Nelson-led fleet that defeated Napoleon's vessels at the Battle of the Nile. Other items given to the museum were found by the first professional archaeologists to excavate in Egypt. Most are small personal objects, like cosmetic jars and lucky charms placed in mummy wrappings. Although there is no human mummy in the collection, there is a mummified cat - a favourite object amongst visitors.

Items on display include:

  • Metal staff head with Ibis and Cobra decoration
  • Stone lidded pot of blue anhydrite for storing hol or galena eye-paint
  • Egyptian linen cloth fragment, 400AD
  • Mummified cat
  • Lid of a canopic jar

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