"Ancient Egypt." British Museum Tip by breughel
British Museum, London: 318 reviews and 592 photos
From the crowds met on the Ground floor (rooms 4) with the Egyptian sculptures and at Level 3 with galleries 61 - 66 mainly dedicated to life, death, afterlife in ancient Egypt and Nubia, this department is certainly the most visited of all the British Museum.
It is the second world's largest collection of Egyptian antiquities outside the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, but only 4% of its Egyptian holdings are on display; what is a pitty I think.
Best known is certainly the Rosetta Stone, on public display at the British Museum since 1802, which contributed greatly to the deciphering of the principles of hieroglyph writing in 1822 by the British scientist Thomas Young and the French scholar Jean-Franšois Champollion credited as the principal translator.
The dispute which arose over the fate of French archaeological and scientific discoveries in Egypt after the surrender of the French troops in Egypt in 1801 is captivating for those who like to know how the British Museum and Le Louvre built up their Egyptian collections.
The Rosetta stone arrived in the British museum more than two centuries ago but Mr. Zahi Hawass, former chief of the Antiquities in Cairo, was aggressively claiming its return to Egypt!
It is not the only artifact claimed by Mr. Hawass; there are some thousand objects he wants to get back including the bust of Nefertiti in Berlin. It sounds a bit strange knowing that the Egyptian museums have already no room to display thousands and thousands antic objects (security was a new problem as seen on 28/01/2011).
Much crowded by visitors are rooms 62-63 at Level 3. Here is on display a selection of the 140 mummies and coffins which make of the British Museum the largest collection outside Cairo.
Best known is the "Ginger mummy" in Room 64 (ref. my tip).
Address: Great Russell Street, WC1
Directions: Holborn tube
Phone: 0 20 7323 8299
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