National Museums Scotland’s Ancient Egyptian collection comprises around 6,000 items, including many unique and internationally significant objects, such as royal statuary, reliefs, mummified bodies, coffins, papyri, furniture, jewellery and textiles.
Ancient Egypt was one of the earliest and longest-lived civilisations, spanning almost 4000 years of history. The River Nile and the surrounding desert shaped ancient Egyptian culture and how they saw the world. Egypt’s success derived from its natural resources, such as fertile agriculture from the annual flood, stone for building monuments, and precious gold. The Egyptian empire grew to stretch from Nubia in the south to Syria in the north, but over time its power waned and for almost a third of its history it was ruled by some its various former territories. Even in ancient times though, Egypt’s awe-inspiring monuments, including pyramids and temples, drew tourists from throughout the ancient Mediterranean.
Our Egyptian collection was begun in 1819, and many of the objects derive from archaeological excavations by A.H. Rhind (Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries Scotland), the Egypt Exploration Society, British School of Archaeology in Egypt, and Oxford and Liverpool Universities. The Museum is also believed to have the only intact ancient Egyptian royal burial group outside of Egypt.