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Posts tagged with 'Ancient Egypt'

World Book Day: leafing through our collections

For World Book Day, we’re celebrating all things literary. From some of the world’s earliest writing to botanical books that hold precious specimens, explore books and writing in its many forms across World Museum’s diverse collections.

Cuneiform tablet

Cuneiform script is one of the world’s earliest systems of writing and was first developed by the ancient Sumerians of Mesopotamia around 3500-30000 BC. It’s likely that cuneiform was created not for scripture, literature or letters, but for accountancy. This clay tablet is inscribed with administrative text giving a list of supplies for a possible construction project at a location away from, but near the ancient city of Umma. The inscription reads: [Obverse] 90000 litres of barley (by the measure of) Agade 18000 + 9000 litres of salt 1200 litres of lard 900 small brick moulds [Reverse] 12000 litres of straw (from) Umma Naidmahras the scribe carried it away year 2 month 7.

Codex Fejéváry-Mayer

Dating back to AD 1200-152, the Codex Fejéváry-Mayer is one of the most precious and remarkable artefacts to have survived from the time before Hernán Cortés destroyed the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan, in 1521. This sacred or ‘dream’ book is a condensed or ritualised version of reality which deals with fundamental human experiences. It is made from deer hide folded into 23 pages and painted with pictograms rather than words derived from an alphabet. The Codex portrays a ‘map’ of the cosmos, a series of gods, a calendar system known as day counts associated with the maize harvest, and long-distance traders. Aside from its literary and artistic merit, it was used for education and to make assessments of the future.

Book of the Dead

This ancient Egyptian collection of spells was designed to guide the recently deceased through the obstacles of the underworld, ultimately enabling them to achieve eternal life. Almost 200 spells survive, though no one collection contains all of them. The final hurdle was to be judged at the court of Osiris. Here, a person’s heart was removed and weighed by the god Anubis against a feather which represented truth. A light heart meant an honest life and entry to the afterlife. Djedhor’s Book of the Dead can be seen in full for the first time in our Ancient Egypt gallery.

Botanical books

The botany department at World Museum houses an extensive botanical library, with books containing specimens of national and international significance. World Museum’s botany collections are particularly rich in material from some of the pioneer explorations of the world’s flora, dating back to the late 1700s and are still being added to today. Liverpool’s worldwide links as a port are highlighted in the collections which hold a wide geographic spread.

Out of the rubble

19 February 2018 by Ashley Cooke

One of my favourite parts of being a curator is the detective work done in storerooms, archives and libraries. I really enjoy making a match between an object and an archive reference. This is incredibly useful when you’re curating a collection that was devastated by a fire in the Second World War. Many objects salvaged from the ruins of the museum were no longer marked with an accession number – the unique number that links object with documentation. Objects were reassigned new numbers but they had lost their ‘identity’.  Without the original number we can’t easily identify an object in the archives that record its history. Their ‘biography’ was stripped away by the fire. We don’t know who donated it to the museum or where and when it was excavated. Sadly, without that background story, it becomes a little bit less of an object. Read more…

Ten missing animal mummies come home!

23 January 2018 by Ashley Cooke

Just before Christmas ten animal mummies were returned to World Museum after 40 years. The excitement all started in late October when I got an interesting message about a box of crocodiles and a cat from Hannah who works on the information desk at World Museum (it was like Christmas come early AND it was actually my birthday that day). Read more…

The pitfalls of recreating a pit burial

30 May 2017 by Alex Blakeborough

The final put burial display.

The final pit burial display.

What colour should the sand be? This was just one of the many things we had to think about when installing the pit burial case for the new Ancient Egypt gallery.

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Story of the sun god’s daughter

18 April 2017 by Scott Smith

Our handling team getting ready to move the Sekhmet statue.

The team getting ready to move the Sekhmet statue. © Pete Carr

It seemed no coincidence that the sun shone bright on the day that we moved our statues of the Egyptian goddess Sekhmet, daughter of sun god Ra, from World Museum’s atrium to their new home in our Ancient Egypt: A journey through time gallery.

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Gardens in Ancient Egypt

13 April 2017 by Jennifer Grindley

Basket containing six persea fruits, Middle Kingdom, from Lahun.

When you imagine life in ancient Egypt, gardens probably don’t automatically spring to mind. Marion Servat-Fredericq from our Antiquities team explores the important role they played.

While photographing Egyptian objects for our new online database, I came across the remains of ancient Egyptian fruit which were left in tombs as funerary offerings for the deceased: pomegranates, grapes, figs, dates, persea fruit, dom palm fruit, but also barley, wheat and even lentil seeds! I was amazed Read more…

Researching Animal Mummies

18 January 2017 by Lucy Johnson

Some of the animal mummies in the exhibiition

Some of the animal mummies featured in the exhibition.

There are just six weeks left to see our fascinating exhibition Animal Mummies Revealed! Dr Stephanie Atherton-Woolham and Dr Lidija McKnight from the Ancient Egypt Animal Mummy Bio Bank led on the research for the project, working closely with staff here at World Museum and Kelvingrove . In this blog, Stephanie tells us more about what’s involved in researching animal mummies and gives an insight into what they’ve been up to since the exhibition opened…

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Meet the Egyptians: Horwennefer’s coffin

27 October 2016 by Lisa

egyptian-coffin-before

Horwennefer’s coffin lid before treatment.

Building works have now begun on an exciting new project to develop our ancient Egypt gallery, enabling us to tell the fascinating story of how Liverpool acquired its world-renowned ancient Egyptian collection.  The re-development will allow us to increase the number of the objects on display and tell more stories, while also creating better conditions for the collections.

While the gallery is closed, conservators are working hard to get our Egyptian objects ready to go back on display. Here, conservator Tania Desloge tells us how they are getting on:  Read more…

Snakes mummy revealed

14 October 2016 by Ashley Cooke

A bundle of mummified snakes wrapped in linen bandages.

Object no. M13645 – a bundle of mummified snakes, date uncertain (c. 600 BC – AD 200). Gift of Joseph Mayer, 1867.

It’s been a busy week in the run up to opening Animal Mummies Revealed, but somehow we managed to fit in X-raying seven animal mummies.

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Top five gift picks for Animal Mummies Revealed

14 October 2016 by Stacey

egyptian bast cat plush toy

Egyptian Bast Cat Plush Toy

Animal Mummies Revealed opens at World Museum today, and alongside the exhibits on display, there’s the perfect range of gifts and souvenirs to take away from our pop up shop on gallery.

We are really excited by the exhibition, Retail Assistant Merchandising Manager, Karen Taylor particularly. She studied Egyptology prior to joining the museum and used her insight and passion to select the gifts for visitors to the exhibition. Here are Karen’s top five picks.

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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We try to ensure that the information provided on our blog is accurate and that appropriate permissions to use images have been sought. The opinions in each blog are very much those of the individuals writing.