The collections from Ancient Egypt and Nubia are one of the Ashmolean’s major attractions, with material representing all periods from prehistory to the 7th century AD. These remarkable collections are a source of fascination and inspiration for the public and an important resource for teaching and research at all levels. Collected over 300 years, the Ashmolean’s Egyptian holdings tell some of the most interesting stories of archaeological discovery which have made Egyptology so popular and fascinating.
Over the years the Museum has amassed iconic pieces such as the wall painting depicting the daughters of Akhenaten and Nefertiti; the Shrine of Taharqa from the temple at Kawa – the only complete free-standing pharaonic building in Britain; and the colossal limestone statues of the fertility god Min which date to 3300 BC. The Ashmolean’s Egyptian and Sudanese collections now number more than 40,000 artefacts.
Areas of particular strength within the collection are the Predynastic Period (5500–3100 BC) and the succeeding Early Dynastic Period (to 2600 BC), for which the Ashmolean holds one of the finest collections in the world. There is also impressive material from Tell el-Amarna (1353–1335 BC) and Nubia (prehistoric to Christian). The collection contains around 8,000 examples of inscribed material including papyri and ostraca with texts in Egyptian, Greek and other languages, forming a resource which is in constant use for research.
The Ashmolean Museum has played a leading role in the archaeology of Egypt and Sudan for several centuries. Thanks to the work of archaeologists such as Sir William Flinders Petrie and Professor Francis Llewellyn Griffith, it has one of the finest collections in the world. Today, the Ashmolean is among the few places where it is possible to explore the civilizations of the Nile valley across thousands of years, from their prehistoric origins to the impact of the Roman Empire.
Ancient Egypt and Nubia at the Ashmolean
A beautifully illustrated 48 page guide to the new galleries is available to buy at the Museum Shop and online at www.ashmolean.org/publications