Ancient lives
new discoveries

22 May 2014 – 12 July 2015

Exhibition closed

Sponsored by

Julius Baer logo

Technology partner

Samsung logo


Think you know mummies? Think again...

This exhibition will introduce you to eight people from ancient Egypt and Sudan whose bodies have been preserved, either naturally or by deliberate embalming.

Using the latest technology, the exhibition will unlock hidden secrets to build up a picture of their lives in the Nile Valley over a remarkable 4,000 years – from prehistoric Egypt to Christian Sudan

From a priest’s daughter to a temple singer, a middle-aged man to a young child, a temple doorkeeper to a woman with a Christian tattoo, find out how they lived and what happened to them after they died. Using interactive technology, discover new information about each mummy, from their state of health to how they were embalmed and preserved. Unravel the mysteries of mummification and gain a unique insight into these people’s lives.


See the exhibition for free as a Member


Adults £10.00, Children free


Extended until 19 April 2015

Opening times

Open daily 10.00–17.30, Fridays until 20.30
Last entry 90 minutes before closing

Getting here

Room 5
British Museum, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG

Group visits

Special group rates available
Bookings +44 (0)20 7323 8181



Latest blog post: Death, the great equaliser

Julie Anderson, Assistant Keeper (curator)
8 August 2014

People are often surprised to discover that two of the largest Christian kingdoms in the medieval world were in Sudan in northeast Africa. Ibn Selim Al-Aswani, an Arab traveller, visited Sudan in the 10th century AD and described the region north of Old Dongola, capital of the medieval kingdom of Makuria, situated roughly 750 kilometres upstream of Aswan Egypt, as an area of 'about thirty villages, with beautiful buildings, churches and monasteries, many palm-trees, vines, gardens, cultivated fields and broad pastures on which one can see camels'.

Read more 

Gallery Café offers

Kids eat for free

One free child’s meal available with every adult main meal.

Cream tea for £5  

Selection of loose leaf tea with traditional scone, clotted cream and strawberry jam.

Mezze and wine for £10  

Selection of mezze served with a large glass of house wine.

The Gallery Café is near the exhibition entrance, beyond Room 12 

Gallery Café food

Loan objects

A number of objects borrowed for this exhibition will be recommended for protection under Part 6 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 (protection of cultural objects on loan).

About loan objects 

Human remains

The British Museum holds and cares for human remains from around the world. This important collection is a unique record of the varied ways different societies have conceived of death and disposed of the remains of the dead.

About human remains 

Egyptological colloquium

Egyptian coffins have been the subject of much recent investigation, as newly discovered examples have come to light and many specimens in museum collections have been documented, published and discussed. Ancient Egyptian coffins: craft traditions and functionality will present analyses of the coffins’ iconography and inscriptions to explain their functional role as ‘structured compositions’.

About the Annual Egyptological colloquium  

Recommend this exhibition