The Lewis Chessmen on a chessboard mid-game, three figures in focus with eyes wide.

One hour at the Museum

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 intricately carved walrus ivory Lewis Chessmen, this one-hour tour will give you a glimpse of ancient civilisations around the world.

Ground and lower floors

1. The Rosetta Stone (Room 4)

The key that unlocked the hieroglyphic language of ancient Egypt, the Rosetta Stone is the Museum's most popular exhibit and one of the cornerstones of modern Egyptology. 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. Hoa Hakananai'a (Room 24)

3. Hoa Hakananai'a (Room 24)

This statue of Hoa Hakananai'a is made distinctive by carvings that have been added to the back, associated with the island birdman cult.

4. The Ife head (Room 25)

4. The Ife head (Room 25)

A brass casting, maybe 600 years old, probably depicting Ooni, the leader of the West African Kingdom of Ife. Lifelike depictions of people such as those from Ife are unique in African art of the period, and reflect important aspects of this landmark culture that existed the lower Niger River.

5. Aztec serpent (Room 27)

5. 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.

6. Statue of Tara (Room 33)

6. Statue of Tara (Room 33)

A gilt-bronze sculpture of the female Bodhisattva, Tara, dating from Sri Lanka in the 7th or 8th century. It would originally have been placed in a temple alongside a statue of her male companion, Avalokiteshevara.

Upper floors

7. Coffin of Henutmehyt (Room 63)

Henutmehyt was a Theban priestess in ancient Egypt who lived about 1250 BC. Her detailed inner-coffin is covered with lavish amounts of gold and indicates that she was a wealthy figure.

8. Standard of Ur (Room 56)

8. Standard of Ur (Room 56)

About 4,600 years old, the Mesopotamian Standard of Ur was discovered in a tomb during the 1920s, next to the remains of a ritually sacrificed man and painstakingly excavated so as to preserve the fragile mosaic design. Although interpreted as a standard, its original purpose remains unknown.

10. The David Vases (Room 95)

9. 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 Rædwald, an Anglo-Saxon king. See one of the most magnificent archaeological discoveries ever made in the UK for yourself.

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.