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Egypt in Edinburgh and Lothians

Find out more about ancient Egyptian collections in City of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian and West Lothian, as well as National organisations.

City of Edinburgh

Museums & Galleries Edinburgh

The known Egyptian objects in the collection are currently on display in the Museum of Childhood, forming part of a display on dolls and figurines in different cultures. The most notable of these objects are the two Middle Kingdom wooden funerary figures; one depicting a seated male worker (likely a rower) and a nude female offering bearer. These objects were all collected by Edward Lovett (1852–1933), who built up a large collection of “dolls” from a range of cultures. 

Collections size: <5 objects 

National Museums Scotland

The Egyptian collection in National Museums Scotland is the largest in Scotland. As part of the Ancient Mediterranean collection, the collection includes a number of objects of international significance, and comprises of material from all periods of Egyptian history.

The origins of the collection are in the Museum of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, later National Museum of Antiquities – which was merged with the Royal Scottish Museum in 1985 to form National Museums Scotland.

  • Giant ceremonial flint knife: Ancient Egyptian, Upper Egypt, Hierakonpolis, Predynastic Period, Naqada II (Gerzean), c. 3500-3100 BC.

    Giant ceremonial flint knife: Ancient Egyptian, Upper Egypt, Hierakonpolis, Predynastic Period, Naqada II (Gerzean), c. 3500-3100 BC.

  • Base of a coffin made for two children named Petamūn, son of Tarennute, and Penhōrpabik, son of Amenōpe : Ancient Egyptian, Upper Egypt, Thebes, late Roman Period, c.175-200 AD.

    Base of a coffin made for two children named Petamūn, son of Tarennute, and Penhōrpabik, son of Amenōpe : Ancient Egyptian, Upper Egypt, Thebes, late Roman Period, c.175-200 AD.

  • Canopy in the shape of a shrine inscribed for Montsuef, excavated by Alexander Henry Rhind: Ancient Egyptian, Thebes, Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, Early Roman period, c.9 BC.

    Canopy in the shape of a shrine inscribed for Montsuef, excavated by Alexander Henry Rhind: Ancient Egyptian, Thebes, Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, Early Roman period, c.9 BC.

  • Gold pendant of an upside-down catfish: Ancient Egyptian, Middle Egypt, Haraga, excavated by Petrie in Tomb 72 in Cemetery A, Late Middle Kingdom, 12th Dynasty, c.1862-1750 BC.

    Gold pendant of an upside-down catfish: Ancient Egyptian, Middle Egypt, Haraga, excavated by Petrie in Tomb 72 in Cemetery A, Late Middle Kingdom, 12th Dynasty, c.1862-1750 BC.

  • Lid of a tall and elegant rishi-style coffin of an unknown woman, probably a member of the royal family at Thebes  : Ancient Egyptian, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, 2nd Intermediate period, 17th Dynasty, c.1585-1545 BC.

    Lid of a tall and elegant rishi-style coffin of an unknown woman, probably a member of the royal family at Thebes : Ancient Egyptian, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, 2nd Intermediate period, 17th Dynasty, c.1585-1545 BC.

  • Limestone relief carved with the head of King Akhenaten: Ancient Egyptian, Middle Egypt, probably Amarna, New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, reign of Akhenaten, c.1353-1336 BC.

    Limestone relief carved with the head of King Akhenaten: Ancient Egyptian, Middle Egypt, probably Amarna, New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, reign of Akhenaten, c.1353-1336 BC.

  • Cedar wood box with ebony veneers and ivory inlays and gilding depicting the god Bes and bearing the cartouches of Amenhotep II: Ancient Egyptian, New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, c.1550-1295 BC.

    Cedar wood box with ebony veneers and ivory inlays and gilding depicting the god Bes and bearing the cartouches of Amenhotep II: Ancient Egyptian, New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, c.1550-1295 BC.

  • Casing-stone from the Great Pyramid of Khufu: Ancient Egyptian, Lower Egypt, Giza, Old Kingdom, 4th Dynasty, reign of Khufu, c.2589-2566 BC.

    Casing-stone from the Great Pyramid of Khufu: Ancient Egyptian, Lower Egypt, Giza, Old Kingdom, 4th Dynasty, reign of Khufu, c.2589-2566 BC.

  • Limestone sphinx showing King Ahmose wearing the nemes headdress: Ancient Egyptian, Upper Egypt, Abydos, Temple of Osiris, New Kingdom, early 18th Dynasty, reign of Ahmose, c. 1550-1525 BC.

    Limestone sphinx showing King Ahmose wearing the nemes headdress: Ancient Egyptian, Upper Egypt, Abydos, Temple of Osiris, New Kingdom, early 18th Dynasty, reign of Ahmose, c. 1550-1525 BC.

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National Museums Scotland is home to material excavated by Alexander Henry Rhind, a Scottish archaeologist who conducted the very first archaeological excavations in Egypt. His most important find was an intact tomb which had been used for over a thousand years. The museum later began to support excavations in Egypt; as such it received distributed objects from the Egypt Exploration Society [Fund], British School of Archaeology in Egypt, the Egyptian Research Account and UNESCO. The Roman-Egyptian funerary material is particularly strong, including the only known double coffin from ancient Egypt, several mummified individuals from Hawara and a well-known mummy-portrait of a woman known popularly as ‘jewellery girl’. The collection also contains the intact burial of a royal woman, which includes an impressive coffin and exceptional selection of gold jewellery.

A number of objects from the collections were transferred to other museums in the mid-1950s, including; Paisley, Durham, Liverpool and Sydney. A new, permanent gallery Ancient Egypt Rediscovered opened in early 2019, displaying nearly 700 objects from the collection in brand new ways.

Collections size: >6000 objects

National Trust for Scotland

National Trust for Scotland cares for around 300,000 objects held in over 50 properties across Scotland. This ranges from archival material to decorative art and furniture. During a collections review, colleagues at NTS identified a handful of modern scarabs, produced for the booming tourist market in the late 1800s to early 1900s.

Collections size: <5 objects known

University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh 

The University of Edinburgh holds a number of collections across its academic departments and its Museums and Galleries service. The Anatomical Museum holds a collection of human remains built up in the mid-late 1800s. The University Library Special Collections care for eighteen papyrus documents from Oxyrhynchus and a small number of faience shabtis.

The Vere Gordon Childe collection within the School of History, Classics and Archaeology contains over 100 objects, many of which were collected by Childe directly. As such, the Predynastic Period is well represented through lithics and some of the only known examples of Badari Culture ripple ceramics in the country. 

Please note: No public display of the Egyptian material currently 

Collections size: >160 objects 

West Lothian

Linlithgow Museum (Linlithgow Heritage Trust)

This community museum tells the story of the town from the time of Mary Queen of Scots to today. During the current review, two faience shabtis of a man called Nespautitawy were identified. They were donated to the museum by the descendants of an Abercorn schoolmaster, Christopher Dawson, who used his collection to teach his pupils.

Collections size: <5 objects

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