Visited on 29th April 2014
Address: Beaumont St, Oxford OX1 2PH
Telephone : 01865 278000
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 5pm, Bank Holiday Monday 10am – 5pm
The Museum is closed 24 – 26 December.
Admission is Free (Special Exhibitions incur a fee)
The Egyptian collections of the Ashmolean are amongst the most extensive in Britain, and they represent every period of Egyptian civilisation from prehistory to the 7th century AD. Predynastic Egypt is a notable strength.
The first objects arrived in the Museum in 1683 and on the 26th November 2011, the Ashmolean opened six new galleries of Ancient Egypt and Nubia that cover more than 5000 years of human occupation of the Nile Valley.
Highlights of the Collections ( http://www.cornucopia.org.uk/html/search/verb/GetRecord/4171 )
Among the most significant groups of material are the objects in the first galley (room 22) which are of the Predynastic and Early Dynastic date (5000-2650 BC) from excavations at Naqada, Abydos, Koptos, and Hierakonpolis. These include a the Scorpion and Narmer mace-heads, and a statue of King Khasekhem.
The museum’s extensive collection of funerary material includes the finest set of coffins from a group belonging to a family burial of Theban priests within the temple of Queen Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahri. These were discovered by the first archaeologist to work for the Egypt Exploration Fund, Edouard Naville.
The Shrine of Taharqa, the only complete pharaonic building in this country can be found in room 23. Taharqa’s shrine is part of a temple built at Kawa in about BC 680. It was built on the orders of Taharqa who was Pharaoh from 690 – 664 BC. The shrine was dedicated to the sun and fertility god Amun-Re. It was intended to give help to Taharqa in ruling over his large kingdom. It was abandoned in the 3rd Century AD and lay buried in sand until excavations in 1930. Taharqa’s shrine is the largest intact Egyptian building in this country.
In room 25 are items from the excavations at Tell el-Amarna, the capital of the so-called ‘heretic king’ Akhenaten (1353-1335 BC), and of which came many pieces of sculpture, objects of daily life, and fragmentary paintings, of which the ‘Princesses fresco’ is the best known.
In addition to papyri, the Ashmolean houses many ostraca, the potsherds and fragments of limestone which served as a cheap writing medium in the ancient world. These include the Gardiner collection of hieratic ostraca, as well as the Bodleian Library’s collections of writing boards, labels, and ostraca. They provide examples of all the scripts and languages that have been used in Egypt (Egyptian, Greek, Coptic, Aramaic, and Arabic), and documents which range from school texts to private letters.