Support the Department of Egypt and Sudan

The Department of Egypt and Sudan at the British Museum houses an important collection of objects which illustrate every aspect of the cultures of the Nile Valley and adjacent desert regions, from around 10,000 BC until the 15th century AD.

The department undertakes an intensive programme of research on Egypt and Nubia, making that knowledge available to a range of audiences, from schoolchildren to specialists. The six Egyptian galleries are the most visited in the British Museum, with displays on funerary archaeology and mummies, Egyptian sculpture, Egypt and Nubia, and Early Egypt. Egyptian objects are also displayed in the Enlightenment Gallery, the John Addis Gallery of the Islamic world and the Citi Money Gallery.

Five fundraising priorities

Redisplaying Egyptian sculpture

The collection of statuary and decorated architecture from pharaonic Egypt is unrivalled and includes iconic monuments such as the Rosetta Stone and the Younger Memnon, a 7-tonne colossal statue of Ramesses II. The redisplay of the ground floor sculpture gallery will offer visitors a journey through ancient temples and cemeteries to explore the religious beliefs and technologies that lie behind the creation of these artworks.

Cataloguing and the online collection database

The Museum’s online collection database is a resource without parallel, but over 80% of the objects are not photographed, severely reducing the usefulness of the database to scholars who cannot visit London. Additional staffing is needed to undertake a systematic programme of photography and documentation, which can be made available online. This would result in the Egyptian collection being truly available to anyone, anywhere in the world, particularly scholars and other audiences in Egypt.

Excavations in the Nile Valley

The department is renowned for its fieldwork and research in Egypt and Sudan. Over the last decade, particularly important advances have been made in our understanding of the nature of urban life, ethnicity, and the interaction between peoples from different cultures and faiths within the Nile Valley. All fieldwork includes training for young Egyptian and Sudanese archaeologists and scholars, and allows us to place the existing collection within the framework of the latest research.

Mummy research and bioarchaeology

The Museum’s collection of human and animal mummies is unparalleled. A systematic approach to non-invasive analyses and research of these remains is currently transforming our understanding of life in the ancient Nile Valley. The latest dual energy CT scanners have been used to research eight mummies and uncover valuable information on ancient life, death, health and disease. There are 95 additional mummies in the collection that would benefit from this analysis, unlocking further untold secrets for scholarly analysis and research.

Collecting 20th- and 21st-century Egypt

The material world is increasingly homogenised by mass production and international trade, so identifying what is distinctively Egyptian is one of the more challenging tasks that the department now faces as it attempts to collect objects today that will tell the story of Egypt in the 20th and 21st centuries.

How you can help

The Museum aims to make its Egypt and Sudan collections as widely available as possible. Your support will really help us to achieve our goals.

  • £35,000 will enable the department to hire a full-time curator for one year to specialise in Egypt of the late Period (c. 700–343 BC) – a time of intense cultural interaction with Persia, Assyria, Nubia and Greece, and the development of a new writing system (demotic).
  • £30,000 will create a position to photograph and catalogue 2,500 objects in the collection, thus making more of the collection accessible to the public through the online database.
  • £10,000 would fund a fieldwork season at Elkab, where specialists in the department are documenting, researching and conserving decorated tomb chapels of the mid-2nd millennium BC.
  • £5,000 will fund a three-month post-doctoral fellowship to research and enhance our understanding of the collection, while also developing the skillset and experience of a promising young scholar.
  • £4,000 will fund the scanning and virtual unwrapping of one mummy in the collection.
  • £3,000 would fund editing work for an issue of British Museum Studies in Ancient Egypt and Sudan, a biannual academic journal, available free online.
  • £2,000 would purchase a high performance computer capable of processing high spec graphics that enable curators to view mummy visualisations.
  • £1,000 or more will allow the Modern Egypt Acquisition Fund to grow so that it can purchase important contemporary works for the collection.

If you wish to support us in our aims, please contact the Development Department +44 (0)20 7323 8421 or