What just happened?

To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site


Collection online

Additional options
Production date to

Or search by



  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Limestone statue of a seated female sphinx which may have been placed (along with 1604) at the entrance to the tomb of a Greek inhabitant of Egypt.

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 2ndC
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 101.5 centimetres (approx.)
  • Curator's comments

    The sphinxes EA1604 and EA1605 are the first two objects catalogued in the 1913's acquisition register, along with a very large number of antiquities (the vast majority of which are scarabs); but with no record of provenance or even mention of Kyticas.

    However, the departemental archives hold letters from Kyticas to Wallis Budge, Keeper of the Department of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities. In a letter of 25 May 1912, Kyticas says that the sphinxes have been sent with ‘seven cases of Coptic stones’. On 20 December 1912, he also mentions purchasing for Budge a collection of 950 scarabs (but the date of 1912 for this letter is queried in an annotation, despite the ‘2’ being clearly written and Kyticas also ends by wishing Budge a happy new year for 1913).
    A letter of 13 April 1912, Cairo, from Kyticas to Budge, says that he encloses photographs of ‘two calcareous [i.e. limestone] stone sphinxes’ [measurements given]. The letter continues: ‘Both have been found and are still in Upper Egypt. Their price is £300’.
    Budge replied to Kyticas about the sphinxes (presumably accepting) and in a letter of 30 April 1912, Kyticas says of the sphinxes: ‘As soon as the heat [in Cairo] will be over I will begin to occupy myself about them’.
    Although the whole group of objects from Kyticas appears to have been registered together as one lot in 1913, there appears to be no connection in provenance between the sphinxes and the other items in the lot.


  • Location


  • Condition


  • Conservation

    See treatments 

    Treatment date

    25 April 1995

    Treatment proposal

    Clean, improve make-up. A


    The surface of the object is extremely dirty from open display. Areas appear to have been waxed, particularly the wings and sides of the piece. There are unpleasant areas of make-up (nose, edges of base).

    Treatment details

    Cleaned with poultices of Laponite RD with distilled water left on the surface for fifteen minutes. Where there were deposits of paint on the surface these were removed with Nitromors water soluble (methylene chloride,sodium hydroxide,cellulose) removed with Acetone (propan-1-one/dimethyl ketone). Areas of make-up were removed manually and where necessary replaced with fills of 20% Paraloid B72 (ethyl methacrylate copolymer) in acetone/Industrial methylated spirits (ethanol,methanol) with Microballoons (silica or phenolic resin). Areas were retouched with Rowney's Cryla colours (acrylic).

    About these records 

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Ancient Egypt & Sudan

  • BM/Big number


  • Registration number


There is no image of this object, or there may be copyright restrictions

Image service:

Request new photography



If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: collectiondatabase@britishmuseum.org 

View open data for this object with SPARQL endpoint

Object reference number: YCA69218

British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.

View this object

Support the Museum:
donate online

The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.

About the database

The British Museum collection database is a work in progress. New records, updates and images are added every week.

More about the database 


Work on this database is supported by a range of sponsors, donors and volunteers.

More about supporters and how you
can help