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Ancient Worlds

Our Ancient World Galleries are now closed. Manchester Museum is undergoing a £13million transformation, hello future, working to become the most inclusive, caring and imaginative museum in the world. To enable this to happen some of our galleries will be closing and from Autumn 2018 we will be partially open.

Find out more on the Manchester Museum hello future blog

The three Ancient Worlds galleries explore the lives and deaths of people from the past.

Discovering Archaeology

Discovering Archaeology introduces some of the collectors and famous archaeologists who have contributed to our collection. Highlights include Stone Age tools and animal bones from Creswell Crags, and Bronze Age mining tools from Alderley Edge.

The displays reveal how archaeologists find out about life in the past, from individual people to their relationship with the ancient landscape. You can see a facial reconstruction of the 2,000-year-old Worsley Man, who was found in a Manchester peat bog, and find out how ancient people in Sudan responded to changes in the River Nile.


Gallery 2: Egyptian Worlds

Egyptian Worlds explores the lives of people from Ancient Egypt and Sudan, from before the time of the first Pharaohs, 5,000 years ago, until the arrival of Christianity and Islam.

The displays include the mummy and coffin of a woman called Asru, who lived in Thebes around 700 BC, and two mummies from the Roman Period. Mummy masks and portraits, and objects from tombs give us a glimpse into ancient Egyptian beliefs about death and the afterlife.

Everyday life in ancient Egypt is illustrated by household goods from a pyramid-builders’ town and the palaces of Amarna and Gurob. Stone sculptures demonstrate the powerful status of the Pharaoh, and the desire of wealthy people to be remembered for eternity.


Gallery 3: Exploring Objects

Exploring Objects draws on the Museum’s vast collection of objects from the ancient world to look at why people collect, sort and label things.

You can explore similarities and differences in shape, colour and texture among dense arrangements of objects of the same kind. Tightly-packed ranks of multi-coloured ancient Egyptian shabtis provide a visually striking display. In another display Bronze Age axes are arranged in the shape of a shoal of fish. An installation by artist Richard Wentworth provides a modern take on the passion for collecting.

Modern techniques for exploring objects are illustrated, including 3-D scanning and experimental archaeology. You can explore some objects on display through touch-sensitive interactives.