Department of the Middle East
There is a wide range of archaeological material and ancient art from Mesopotamia (Iraq); Iran; the Levant (Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Israel); Anatolia (Turkey); Arabia; Central Asia and the Caucasus. Highlights of the collection include Assyrian reliefs, treasure from the Royal Cemetery of Ur, the Oxus Treasure, Phoenician ivories and the library of cuneiform tablets from Nineveh.
The Islamic collection includes archaeological assemblages from
Iraq, Iran and Egypt as well as collections of inlaid
metalwork from medieval Iran, Syria and Egypt and Iznik ceramics
from Turkey. In addition to Persian, Turkish and Mughal Indian
works on paper, the department holds a major collection of
contemporary art from
the Middle East.
The department has an active fieldwork policy, and is currently involved in excavations across the Middle East. All material in the collection is made available to researchers in the Arched Room, one of the few rooms in the British Museum to have retained its Victorian splendour.
The department has a group of supporters known as the Friends of the Middle East, and a patrons group which supports the acquisition of Modern and Contemporary Middle eastern art (CaMMEA).