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Outer coffin

  • Outer coffin (detail)Close-up of coffin

    Outer coffin (detail)Close-up of coffin

  • Outer coffin (interior)Inside the coffin

    Outer coffin (interior)Inside the coffin


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Mummy: The Inside Story

Nesperennub's wooden coffin

Nesperennub was alive around 800 BC and died aged approximately forty years, possibly due to illness. His body was discovered by local diggers at Luxor (the site of ancient Thebes) in the 1890s. The exact location of Nesperennub's tomb is unknown but the excellent preservation of his coffins indicates that it was probably among the 'tombs of the nobles'. These were already five, six or seven centuries old by the time he died, but burials there are generally better preserved than the newer tombs along the edge of the Nile floodplain.

The wooden outer coffin is simple in design, with a painted face, wig and collar and a line of hieroglyphs identifying the occupant. The reddish colouring of the background associates the deceased with the sun god Re. The coffin was regarded symbolically as a kind of cocoon, with the dead person lying inside like a child waiting to be reborn into the Afterlife. The figure of a goddess, either Nut or Nephthys, has been painted on the interior, with her arms outstretched to enfold Nesperennub in a protective embrace.

Other members of Nesperennub's family were probably buried with him, including his father Ankhefenkhons (whose coffin is also in the British Museum) and his wife Neskhonspakhered. Nesperennub's mummy and its cases were sent to England by ship in 1899, having been bought by E.A. Wallis Budge on one of his regular visits to Egypt to collect antiquities for the British Museum.

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Introduction to the popular 19th century British artist, £25.00

Introduction to the popular 19th century British artist, £25.00