The British Museum
- Ancient Egypt
- The tomb-chapel of Nebamun
- Paintings from the Tomb-chapel of Nebamun
- A bottle and a toy: Objects from daily life
- Hunefer, Book of the Dead
- The Rosetta Stone
- History uncovered in conserving the Rosetta Stone
- Egyptian mummy portraits
- Ancient Egyptian coffin prepared for the Book of the Dead exhibition at the British Museum
- Ancient Egyptian coffin mask conserved for the Book of the Dead exhibition at the British Museum
- An ancient Egyptian scribal palette in the Book of the Dead exhibition at the British Museum
- Ancient Egyptian baboon deity conserved for the Book of the Dead exhibition at the British Museum
- Ancient Egyptian papyrus in the Book of the Dead Exhibition
- Ancient Egyptian coffin panel prepared for the Book of the Dead exhibition at the British Museum
- Gebelein Man: virtual autopsy, exploring a natural mummy from early Egypt
Toward the end of the fourth millennium B.C.E. several independent city-states were unified to form a single state, marking the beginning of over 3,000 years of pharaonic civilization in the Nile Valley. Fertile earth left behind after the yearly Nile flood provided the basis for Egypt’s agricultural prosperity, a key factor in the longevity of the civilization. Impressive monuments were erected in the name of kings, from monumental temples for the gods to the pyramids marking the burials of rulers.
Papyrus from the Book of the Dead of Ani, c. 1275 B.C.E., 44.5 x 30.7, Thebes, Egypt © Trustees of the British Museum
Coffins to jewelry
The British Museum collection includes statuary and decorated architecture from throughout pharaonic history, often inscribed with hieroglyphs. Many other aspects of ancient Egyptian culture are represented: coffins and mummies of individuals, but also furniture, fine jewelry and other burial goods. These reflect the practice of lavish burials for the wealthy, which included the royal family, government officials and the priesthood.
Texts preserved on papyrus help reveal the complex administration of the country, but also include magical, medical and mathematical works and poetry. Pottery vessels and a variety of tools and agricultural equipment hint at the day-to-day lives of ancient Egyptians.
Coffin of Bakenmut, c. 1077-943 B.C.E., wood and paint on plaster, Third Intermediate Period, 208.4 cm, Thebes, Egypt © Trustees of the British Museum
At certain periods, Egypt’s empire extended over neighboring areas, from Upper Nubia to the Euphrates river. But Egypt was also linked to other countries through trade, and many foreigners came to reside in Egypt, producing a cosmopolitan society.
Egypt did endure several periods of foreign domination, by Palestinian, Nubian, Persian, Greek and Roman rulers. Yet throughout, temples to the Egyptian gods continued to be built in the traditional style and aspects of Egyptian religion spread throughout the ancient world. By the fourth century C.E., Christianity had become the dominant religion along the Nile, with Islam first introduced in the seventh century C.E.
© Trustees of the British Museum
Want to join the conversation?
- in the second paragraph of coffins to jewelry, it mentions texts preserved on papyrus. I was wondering out of curiosity, how did the papyrus last for so long? I mean wasn't papyrus paper just woven plants? It isn't as strong as stone. Even stronger materials like wood and bone decayed so why did the papyrus last long enough for scientist today to discover it.(7 votes)
- It helps that Egypt is a hot, dry climate. Natural materials that might have decayed in other conditions were well preserved. Many of the papyrus texts that were preserved were found in tombs, which were even further protected from the elements.(8 votes)
- Why is the nose of the Sphinx missing?(4 votes)
- From what I know, it's happened before. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Sphinx_of_Giza#Missing_nose_and_beard(1 vote)
- What does B.C.E stand for.(1 vote)
- In The Second paragraph It States That They Found Something called, "Papyrus", And Since Ancient Egypt Wasn't Very Modern How Did They Try To Preserver The Paper ? And Did They Cover It With Salt? Because It Would've Eroded By Now. #Help_Me(1 vote)
- Well, papyrus isn't exactly paper. It's kind of like paper, but it's made from dried reeds woven together instead of modern wood pulp. Since these documents were being stored in cool, dark tombs, they weren't eroded by light or human handeling. I don't think they covered papyrus in salt- but they did preserve mummies that way.(3 votes)
- why did Egyptians chose Egypt over other places(1 vote)
- Who is the god of ancieny Egypt(1 vote)
- why was Christianity dominant to Egyptians?(1 vote)
- How did the Egyptians start believing in gods? Why didn't they use nature to figure out their disasters and/or prosperity?(1 vote)
- I went to see that page from the Book of the Dead at the museum!! It's amazing!(1 vote)
- How and Why in the first paragraph did the several idpendent cities states come together to from the 1 city state then leading to the 3,000 thousand years of civilization at the Nile valley.
Was it because the wanted more power together are because they wanted to created a empire?(1 vote)