Atestat British Museum

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The British Museum is the oldest, and one of the largest museums in the world. Where else can you see some of the greatest treasures of all time under one roof? You will be fascinated by the Egyptian Mummies, and inspired by the superb exhibition of prints and drawings which changes several times a year. The British Museum is a vast storehouse of treasures. Six million people visit the British museum every year, making it London's greatest tourist attraction. It was built in the first half of the nineteenth century, at a time when Britain's empire building activities were putting more and more peoples and lands under British control. This was also a period of incredible curiosity in many different areas including science, technology and history. The military and economic strength of the country allowed private collectors and the government to amass first rate collections of artifacts from many of the world's major civilizations, including the Rosetta stone from Egypt, the Elgin marbles from the Parthenon in Greece, statues and tablets from Mesopotamia as well as Mayan and other cultural items from Central America. Today, the British Museum is home to no less than six and a half million objects and has ninety four permanent and temporary exhibition galleries. An Education Department provides a wide range of services for adults and children. Other departments are Coins and Medals, Egyptian Antiquities, Ethnography, Greek and Roman Antiquities, Japanese Art, Medieval and Later Art, Oriental Antiquities, Pre-Historic and Romano-British Antiquities, Prints and Drawings, and Western Asiatic Antiquities.


The heart of London is home to one of the greatest collections of antiquities the world has ever seen. The museum was born in 1753 then held at a different site. The British Museum as we know it today was built at the end of the XIX century for an aristocrat, who wanted a country home at the edge of the town. Today, more than 6 million visitors pour through these doors each year to view some of the 7 million items in 20 different galleries. The inner court yard at the British Museum was hidden to the public from 1867, but its reopen in 2000, created the largest, covered, public square in London. Almost a hector in size, the space was designed by Lord Norman Foster and features an extraordinary computer-designed glass and steel roof. The 11 kilometer of steel sustains 350 tones of glass. The central reading room is being wrapped in limestone and surrounded by shops and cafes. By day, the interplay of light and shape transforms the space in which the old and the new coexist in a perfect balance. As darkness falls, it becomes an arena of drama and mystery. The museum was opened in 1759 under its present name in Montague House, but the acquisition of the library of George III in 1823 necessitated larger quarters. The first wing of the new building was completed in 1829, the quadrangle in 1852, and the great domed Reading Room in 1857. Later, other additions were built. Long a part of the museum, the British Library was established as a separate entity by act of Parliament in 1973 and moved to new London quarters in 1997. After the relocation of the library, the famous Reading Room underwent extensive renovations, including the opening (2000) of a surrounding glassed-in Great Court and the installation of a billowing transparent roof, both designed by Lord Norman Foster . The space houses a gallery and a restaurant, as well as two small theaters and an education center beneath the courtyard.


Just off the great court, at the front of the museum, lies part of the oldest department of all, containing some of the most ancient exhibits. There are monumental statues, columns and friezes evoking more than 4.000 years of ancient Egyptian history. It has always been a popular part of the museum, even for the Victorians and the exhibits have remained largely unchanged today and still the crowds are drawn by these magnificent collections.

But it is up to what lays up-stairs, in the mummy gallery, that helps visitors to feel even closer to the Pharaohs. They are surrounded by mummified remains of the people from this ancient civilization. Museum staff dismissed suggestions that the gallery has a certain atmosphere. However, there is one exhibit about which they are less than free to talk about. It is referred to, for reasons of safety, simply by its catalogue number: EA22542. But over the years it is become known as the unlucky mummy. Although it contains no mummified remains, the exhibit has a painted-wooded sarcophagus lid, thought to be from the tomb of the mysterious early ruler of ancient Egypt. She was known to later Egyptologists as queen Nitokris. It is said that she committed suicide after massacring hundreds of Egyptian nobles to revenge the killing of her brother. Her tomb was cursed and laid silent for thousands of years until it was pillaged by thieves, who sold their treasure to


unsuspecting tourists. In the 1860, four young Englishmen bought the coffin lid. They were on holiday and thought that they have found the perfect souvenir of their visit in Egypt. However, within months, three were dead and the fourth has lost his arm in a shooting accident. A famous clear-sighted of the time, Madam Elena Blavatkaia pronounced the coffin lid an evil influence. As a result, the lid was passed on to the British Museum, but that solved nothing. When the museum had it photographed, the photographer was so horrified by what he saw in the developing tray, that he killed himself. The man who transported the lid to the museum died within a week. The story continued right through the XX century. An expert, who was making a detailed study of the coffin lid, was on board the Titanic. The museum blames press sensationalism and public superstition for the stories, and deny the rumor that the curse of the unlucky mummy has meant that the staff turn-over in the mummy gallery is higher than anywhere else in the museum. The British museum has a store of over 7 million artifacts in its possession. Gathered from around the world, they represent the highest achievements civilizations have reached in architecture, art, religion and culture. The mummy gallery is just one part of the massive Egyptian department, that few get the chance to investigate the rest, which is stored in the basement below. The maze corridors and stores from the Egyptian department is where they keep the biggest collection of mummies outside the Cairo. The Egyptians believed that the soul returned to the body after death and they learned to preserve the bodies by embalming them and wrapping them in canvas to produce the famous Egyptian mummies.


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Egyptologists now take for granted about this civilization unavailable if it hadnt been for another remarkable discovery that the museum now has on display upstairs. In the XVIII century, when archeologists went to discover and retrieve Egyptians remains, they were totally baffled by the writing. Hieroglyphics or picture writing shouldve been easy to understand, but it wasnt, especially since everyone assumed it wasnt a form of writing, but mysterious religious symbolisms. To solve the mystery of the real meaning of hieroglyphics, experts had to relay on an accidental discovery of a chunk from an old wall, in the northern Egyptian port, Rosetta. Just over a meter tall and one meter wide, it contained Greek writing that suggested it was a rather boring local decree. But there were two other forms of writing, both of which were hieroglyphs. It was in the early XIX century, that Frenchman, Jean Francois Champollion, identified a vital phrase. It showed that the three different scripts were in fact the same text. Today, as in the past, thousands of people stand in front of the glass case. For some, the stone holds even more significance, as well as holding the key to unlocking Egypt. It is suggested that the stone reveals the darkest secrets of parallel universe. Many people got nervous when they were in front of the stone, claiming they saw ghosts. There will always be strange theories surrounding such an important ancient artifact, but no one will deny that and the work of Champollion unlocked the secrets of the Egyptian way of life and contributed to the interest among experts and public alike, in the world of the pharaohs.


On the upper floor, just around the corner from the ancient Egyptian galleries, visitors are drawn to a darken corner, where a corpse resides. These are the remains of a man famous in death, but of his life we know almost nothing. His last moments alive are surrounded by mystery, which can only be solved because of the peat that preserved his body for 25 centuries. To the ancient Britains, the marshland around Lindow, near the modern city of Manchester, was a sacred location, a place to worship their gods. Centuries later, in 1984, while digging up peat, a worker came across the remains of a leg in his days load. They went back to the bog and found a large piece of skin, showing through the peat layers. They have found a body. And once the police confirmed it was out of their jurisdiction, caretakers from the British Museum brought the remains back to London. They knew the body was old, but it took carbon-fourteendating to establish that the man from the bog had lived 2500 years ago. The body is now stable, but it is still sensitive to the light, which causes problems for the museums caretakers. Under normal circumstances, they couldnt find ski