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Posts by Ashley Cooke

A Mummy Mask and Goings-on in Antiquities

27 May 2011 by Ashley Cooke

photo of a painted mummy mask

An ancient Egyptian cartonnage mummy mask, about 1550 BC

It’s been a good week in the Antiquities department at World Museum. An amazing object in our Egyptology collection that has long been overlooked was published by Dr Aidan Dodson of Bristol University, a Liverpool graduate who is working in the department to study and publish our coffin collection. The mask, with its tiny gold face, is a real rarity for academics and a curious object for the 10s of 1000s of visitors that see it each month. The mask was placed over the head of a mummy over 3500 years ago and is decorated with divine figures to protect the mummy. You can find out more about this mask on the World Museum Ancient Egypt Facebook page. Read more…

Egyptology Freshers Visit

22 October 2010 by Ashley Cooke

Yesterday morning there were 15 eager first year Egyptology students waiting outside the museum doors in the pouring rain. They were here for a museum class translating inscriptions in the Ancient Egypt gallery, all done early in the morning before the museum opens to the public. The group had an hour to make their way round the gallery and translate hieroglyphic inscriptions on a varity of artefacts – wooden coffins and stone stela. Some had to crawl on the floor to read the very bottom lines of text on the coffins. Read more…

Mummy Wrappings

1 June 2010 by Ashley Cooke

Early this morning a team of staff were busy wrapping up showcases and sculptures in the Ancient Egypt gallery at World Museum. The ancient Egyptians had a fondness for wrapping things up and at times it felt like the mummies were looking on with approval. However, I imagine they could have done the job quicker than the 3 hours it took us. Although this was not of a ritual nature and despite having what must amount to several miles of mummy bandages in our collection we used polythene, bubble wrap and foam. Read more…

Mëroe, Empire on the Nile

22 March 2010 by Ashley Cooke

image of antiquities on display

Glazed faience antquities on display in Paris, including two objects from Liverpool.

The other week I travelled to Paris with some antiquities which World Museum are loaning to the Louvre for their temporary exhibition, ‘Meroë, Empire on the Nile’, which opens on 26th March. This is the first exhibition devoted exclusively to Meroë, capital of a great empire on the Nile, situated in northern Sudan. The royal capital of Meroë is famed for the pyramids of the kings and queens who dominated the region between 270 BC and AD 350. Read more…

Egypt up close

13 March 2010 by Ashley Cooke

people handling artefacts

Looking closely at amulets and discussing the imagery and intricate detailing.

It’s been a fun start to the weekend for 17 members of the Wirral Ancient Egypt Society who visited World Museum this morning. Blue gloved hands reached across tables to carefully pick up ancient Egyptian artefacts. It was great to see so many people enjoying coming up close with the physical remains of an ancient civilisation. The society is dedicated to the furtherance of the knowledge of the history of ancient Egypt and is open to all that share an interest in Egyptology. Read more…

The Liverpool Ivories

25 February 2010 by Ashley Cooke

photograph of a carved ivory panel

Last week I went to Germany accompanying one of the many national treasures that are held by World Museum. We are fortunate to hold one of the greatest collections of ancient ivory carvings in this country. The Liverpool ivories are internationally known and admired, and are frequently requested for loan by other museums. They have been key pieces in many international exhibitions bringing to life the fascinating history and art of the Byzantine empire.

In the 4th to 6th centuries AD ivory panels were carved with intricate images and hinged together to form a diptych, which could close together rather like a cigarette case. They were made for the elite to celebrate important events such as games marking the attainment of high office.

The Venatio Ivory is the left panel of a diptych with a carved representation of an elk fight (venatio is Latin for ‘hunt’). Wild beasts were hunted as a form of entertainment in amphitheatres such as the Colosseum in Rome. It will be great for people to see this object in context with so many similar artefacts and alongside a huge model of an amphitheatre.  Read more…

Back to the stores

12 December 2008 by Ashley Cooke

people studying artefacts on a table

Now the Egyptian gallery is open I’ll be spending more time in the stores working with the reserve collection. Students and academics from universities use the collection for teaching and research.

One group of students from the University of Liverpool came in this week to study objects from the extensive Roman sculpture collection. The students are reading for masters degrees in the School of Archaeology Classics and Egyptology, which the museum has had links with for over a century. Read more…

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Welcome to the National Museums Liverpool blog! Written by our staff and volunteers, we’ll give you a peek behind the scenes of our museums and galleries.




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