Luxor Museum – Revisited

Visited 21st September 2014

The museum is built on two levels with a ramp leading from the ground floor to the upper floor and contains artefacts from around the Theban area. Most of the artifacts displayed at the Luxor Museum were discovered in the area of ancient Thebes (modern Luxor). Highlights of the collection include masterpieces of pharaonic art as well as examples of everyday objects. Several galleries are devoted to a spectacular group of statues found in 1989 hidden beneath the floor of the Luxor Temple (The Cachette); there is also a newly-built annex dedicated to Egypt’s Golden Age (the New Kingdom, ca. 1550-1070 BC), which includes two royal mummies and a short film on ancient papyrus and vase-making.

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Opening Hours:

Winter: open daily 9AM-9PM   Summer: open daily 9AM-4PM, 5PM-10PM

TICKET COST:003

General Admission: (Ticket includes both museum and ruins)

LE 100 (£8.60) , LE 50 (£4.30) students {correct as of Sept 2014}

NO PHOTOGRAPHY IS ALLOWED unless you ask and they say yes!

Student rates available to bearers of a valid student ID from a university or an International Student ID Card (ISIC)

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LOCATION: Corniche el-Nil, downtown Luxor  (The museum is wheelchair-accessible.)

Website*: http://www.sca-egypt.org/eng/MUS_LuxorMuseum.htm

(*Please note the website has not been updated for sometime!)

Tutankhamun of course is well-represented by some of the objects from his tomb in the Valley of the Kings which are not currently on display in the Cairo Museum. Included among these is the famous majestic head of a cow goddess, of resin and gilded wood, which is one of the first items the visitor will see when entering the museum.

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There are exhibits of funerary stelae, offering tables, papyri, tomb furniture, a cartonage mummy-case and many small statuettes and shabtis.

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In glass cases in the centre of the upper floor are smaller objects such as jewellery, funerary and ritual items and artefacts from daily life.

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One of the main features on the upper floor is a reconstructed wall from a temple of Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten).

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The small decorated sandstone blocks (talatat) were discovered when the ninth pylon at Karnak Temple was dismantled for reconstruction work, where they had been used as infill in the original building of the pylon. Individual talatat blocks on which the famous reliefs were carved can be seen in many museums, but here the ‘Talatat Wall’ represents the only successful attempt at reconstructing a whole wall of the blocks. Over 40,000 decorated blocks from Amenhotep IV’s early Karnak building works have been found, but only those from the ninth pylon are well-preserved enough to allow their accurate reconstruction.

Next to the talatat, mounted on the wall, is a sandstone head from a colossal Osirid statue of Amenhotep IV from Karnak.

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Another long-awaited new annex to Luxor Museum has now been completed and this spacious addition houses many artefacts new to the museum, as well as some of the artworks from the original galleries. The main section of the extension has a military theme and is partly devoted to Egypt’s glorious empire.

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The long hall has two glass-covered niches which are the new resting places for the mummies of two great warrior kings – Ahmose, founder of the New Kingdom

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and the recently repatriated Rameses I.

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The Michael Carlos Museum gave it back after tests showed it was probably that of the man who ruled 3,000 years ago. The US institution acquired it three years ago from a Canadian museum, which in turn is thought to have bought it from Egyptian grave robbers in 1860.

Atlanta’s Michael Carlos Museum acquired the mummy in 1999, but offered to return it after hi-tech scanning equipment indicated it was likely to be that of Ramses I.

It is thought a Canadian collector bought the mummy for the Niagara Falls institution around 1860 from an Egyptian family which had stumbled on a tomb filled with royal mummies at a site near Luxor.

According to the Atlanta museum’s website, the family sold treasures from the site until they were discovered and the tomb – with an empty coffin bearing the name Ramses I – officially revealed in 1881.

Ramses I ruled for just two years but is renowned for founding the 19th Dynasty, which spawned many Ramses – including Ramses II who was on the throne for several decades.

One of my favorite pieces is an artificial toe.

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The main gallery also includes weaponry and a hunting chariot of Tutankhamun.

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Many of the free-standing granite statues depict kings, queens, and high-status officials who left their images in the Theban temples.

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Statues from the Luxor Temple cachette:

1 Statue of the goddess Iunyt, from Luxor Temple, Dynasty XVIII

2 Statue of Amenhotep III, from Luxor Temple, Dynasty XVIII

3 Horemheb before Amun, from Luxor Temple, Dynasty XIX

4 Horemheb making an offering to Atum, Dynasty XIX

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The upper level contains some superb statues, several old favourites relocated from other areas of the museum, as well as many fascinating objects related to technology and the arts.

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The new facilities include a visitor centre, bookshop and cafeteria. Set in a beautifully lit and temperature-controlled environment, Luxor Museum is a dramatic showpiece for ancient Egyptian cultural heritage for which the people of Egypt should be very proud.

 

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