Ramesses

One hour at the Museum trail

Go on a whirlwind tour of the history of the world.

From the Rosetta Stone that unlocked the hieroglyphic language of ancient Egypt to the Hoa Hakananai'a statue, this one-hour tour will give you a glimpse of ancient civilisations around the world.

1. The Rosetta Stone (Room 4)

1. The Rosetta Stone (Room 4)

With the decipherment of hieroglyphs in 1822, the culture, history and beliefs of ancient Egypt were revealed. The Rosetta stone is the Museum's most popular exhibit, so don't leave without seeing it for yourself.

2. Parthenon Sculptures (Room 18)

2. Parthenon Sculptures (Room 18)

Carved about 2,500 years ago, these ancient Greek sculptures adorned the Parthenon, a temple on the Athenian Acropolis that once contained a colossal gold and ivory statue of the goddess Athena.

3. Bust of Ramesses the Great (Room 4)

3. Bust of Ramesses the Great (Room 4)

This section of a larger statue, which weighs 7.5 tonnes, once sat in the Ramesseum, in Egypt, venerating Ramesses II, one of the greatest Egyptian pharaohs. Coverage of the bust's transportation to the UK is believed to have inspired Shelley's famous sonnet, Ozymandias.

4. The Ife head (Room 25)

4. The Ife head (Room 25)

A brass casting, probably around 600 years old, considered to depict the Ooni, a sacred king within the West African Kingdom of Ife. In earlier generations this highly naturalistic, striking head was falsely believed by Western scholars to have been inspired by European art. The Ife Head provides a portal into the fascinating history of powerful rulers and kingdoms in medieval West Africa.

5. Hoa Hakananai'a (Room 24)

5. Hoa Hakananai'a (Room 24)

This statue, known as Hoa Hakananai'a, comes from the ritual centre of Orongo on Rapa Nui (Easter Island). Carved from basalt, it has carvings on the back associated with the islanders' birdman cult. It is of great significance to the people of Rapa Nui today.

6. Aztec serpent (Room 27)

6. Aztec serpent (Room 27)

Created in what is now Mexico in the 15th or 16th century, this extraordinary double-headed serpent sculpture is mostly made of turquoise pieces over a wooden base, and probably had ritual significance.

Upper floors

7. Mummy of Katebet (Room 63)

One of the most-studied mummies in the Museum, Katebet was a Chantress of Amun, and would have sung and performed music during rituals. Both the mummy and her accoutrements are incredibly well preserved, despite dating back to 1300 BC.

8. Samurai armour (Room 92–94)

8. Samurai armour (Room 93)

Armour and weaponry defined the samurai's authority on the battlefield. This complete, matching set of armour was produced for a member of the powerful Mori family, who were samurai lords based in western Japan.

9. Royal Game of Ur (Room 56)

9. Royal Game of Ur (Room 56)

Originally played in the early third millennium BC and once popular across the Middle East, the rules of this two-player strategy boardgame were lost to history until British Museum curator Irving Finkel decoded a cuneiform tablet containing the instructions in the early 1980s.

10. Lewis Chessmen (Room 40)

10. Lewis Chessmen (Room 40)

Fashioned from walrus ivory and brimming with personality, the Lewis Chessmen were made in the 12th century and discovered buried in a sandbank off the Scottish island of Lewis in 1831. They have been described as the most famous chess pieces in the world.

11. The Sutton Hoo ship burial

11. The Sutton Hoo ship burial (Room 41)

Found undisturbed in 1939, the many artefacts of the Sutton Hoo burial date back to 7th century Britain and are popularly believed to have belonged to an Anglo-Saxon king. See one of the most magnificent archaeological discoveries ever made in the UK for yourself.

12. Oxus treasure (Room 52)

12. Oxus treasure (Room 52)

Stunning examples of gold and silver metalwork found in the Oxus river, on the border of Afghanistan and Tajikistan, which date back to the Achaemenid Empire of the 5th to 3rd century BC. Together, the pieces form one of the British Museum's great collections.