Our three Ancient Worlds galleries are called Discovering Archaeology, Egyptian Worlds and Exploring Objects. Highlighting our collections from Manchester and the region, and from ancient civilizations such as Greece, Rome and Egypt, these galleries reveal the stories behind the objects, through people who lived long ago as well as modern day archaeologists, historians and collectors.
The new Ancient Worlds galleries are supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, The Garfield Weston Foundation, The Monument Trust, The Headley Trust, The Stavros Niarchos Foundation, The Foundation for Sport and the Arts, The Barker Foundation, The Charlotte Bonham-Carter Charitable Trust, Manchester Ancient Egypt Society and by the exhibition Tutankhamun-His Tomb And His Treasures.
The Egyptology Collection
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The Manchester Museum is home to one of the largest and most important collections of ancient Egyptian artefacts in the United Kingdom. The collection includes objects from prehistoric Egypt (c. 10,000 BC) to the Byzantine era, up to around AD 600.
There are about 16,000 objects in the Egyptology collection. In addition to the exhibitions in the Daily Life Gallery and the Funerary Gallery, the entrance hall of the Museum displays monumental stone sculpture from the temples of ancient Bubastis (modern Tell Basta and Ihnasya el-Medina) in the Nile Delta. Objects that are not on display are kept in storage, where they are accessible to researchers from around the world.
View a podcast about the ancient Egyptian town of Kahun by Dr Joyce Tyldesley, Lecturer in Egyptology at the KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology & Fellow of The Manchester Museum.
History of the collection
Like many British museums, The Manchester Museum gave financial support to British archaeologists working in Egypt in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In return, the Museum received a share of the artefacts that were found (although this practice was gradually stopped once Egypt became an independent republic in 1952). Because the artefacts were discovered in controlled excavations, where archaeologists record and keep everything they find, the Egyptology collection contains a wide variety of objects which were unearthed exactly where they had been left by the ancient Egyptians.
The Museum received material from the excavations of the British School of Archaeology in Egypt, the Egypt Exploration Society, and the Liverpool School of Archaeology. One important excavator was Sir William Flinders Petrie (1853-1942), who worked on dozens of sites in Egypt and pioneered new techniques and recording methods. Petrie's work in Egypt received generous funding from Jesse Haworth (1835-1921), a Manchester textile manufacturer who visited Egypt in 1880 and was very interested in ancient Egypt. Haworth donated his personal collection of Egyptian antiquities to the Manchester Museum and funded the 1912 extension of the Museum, which was named in his honour.