Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egypt Room, Renpit-Nefert mummy

The Ancient Egypt Gallery is one of the most-loved galleries in the Museum. It was originally established in 1939 and has changed very little since, evoking an overwhelming sense of nostalgia in our visitors.

The Ancient Egypt Gallery gives an insight into the religion, burial practices and everyday life of Ancient Egypt. It features elements of the collection which is comprised of more than 650 artefacts, most of which are genuine pieces from Ancient Egypt, with only a few replicas and model casts.

The original sarcophagus and mummy of Renpit-Nefert have been part of the Museum’s collection for over 100 years. They were acquired from Egypt by Reverend Roby Fletcher who was commissioned in 1890 to “inquire… as to the best means of procuring objects of archaeological interest, illustrative of ancient Egyptian or Babylonian civilization”. While in Cairo he purchased the mummy of Renpit-Nefert and her coffin.

Her name which means ‘beautiful year’ suggests that Renpit-Nefert’s parents were very pleased with the birth of their daughter.

The items in the Ancient Egypt Gallery form part of our Foreign Ethnology Collection which holds more than 22,000 items from the Pacific, Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas.


About our mummies

In 1999 Renpit-Nefert’s mummy was investigated using X-ray and CT scanning technology. The results indicated that she was at least 40 years old when she died from chronic illness or acute infection during chronic illness. She was 160cm tall and had had at least two children. Carbon dating has indicated that she died around 400 BCE. The gods that are painted on her coffin grant her ‘a beautiful burial’ and the base of her coffin has a scene of the mummy being carried by the sacred Apis bull.

At the same time scans were undertaken on our Nubian mummy ‘George’ who was confirmed as male, about 167cm tall and around 25-30 years old. His teeth showed little sign of wear, although several were missing. In childhood he had fractured two ribs but these were well healed. His death was probably as the result of an acute infection.