Visitors walk around Room 52. To the left are many objects in a display case. On the right, visitors walk around looking at objects

Room 52

Ancient Iran

3000 BC – AD 651
The Rahim Irvani Gallery

Visiting the gallery

Opening times

Daily 10.00–17.30 (20.30 on Fridays)

Room 52 celebrates Iran, which was a major centre of ancient culture.

Iran was rich in valuable natural resources, especially metals, and played an important role in the development of ancient Middle Eastern civilisation and trade. Room 52 highlights these ancient interconnections and the rise of distinctive local cultures, such as in Luristan, during the age of migrations after about 1400 BC.

During the sixth century BC, Cyrus the Great founded a mighty Persian empire which eventually stretched from Egypt to Pakistan. Objects on display from this period include the Cyrus Cylinder and the Oxus Treasure. Monumental plaster casts of sculptures from Persepolis are also displayed in Room 52 and on the East stairs.

The later periods of the Parthian and Sasanian empires mark a revival in Iranian culture and are represented through displays including silver plates and cut glass.

Accessibility

  • Some objects in this collection feature on the British Sign Language guide handset, available from the audio guide desk in the Great Court.
  • Some objects in this collection feature on the audio description guide, available from audio guide desk in the Great Court.
  • Step-free access.
  • View sensory map (opens in new window).

Visit Accessibility at the Museum for more information.