Ancient Egyptian artifacts, ranging from sculptures to inscriptions, offer a captivating glimpse into the rich history and culture of one of the world’s most fascinating civilizations.
Among the notable artifacts are the iconic Tutankhamun Mask, found in the pharaoh’s tomb, is a masterpiece of gold craftsmanship, symbolizing the opulence of the New Kingdom, And the Rosetta Stone, discovered in 1799, is a linguistic key to deciphering ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, unlocking the mysteries of their written language.
These artifacts are not confined to Egypt; they are dispersed worldwide, enriching museums with Egyptian civilization artifacts. This global dispersion ensures that enthusiasts can explore the wonders of Ancient Egyptian artifacts, sometimes without even having to travel to Egypt, fostering a deeper appreciation for the art, history, and legacy of this extraordinary civilization.
In this guide, you will learn about some of the most important Ancient Egyptian civilization artifacts and where you can see them
Ancient Egypt, one of the earliest and most enduring civilizations, flourished along the Nile River for over three millennia. Its contributions extend across various fields, leaving an indelible mark on global history.
The Nile River’s annual flooding provided fertile soil for agriculture, fostering the growth of a sophisticated society. Ancient Egyptians excelled in architecture, constructing monumental structures like the pyramids, Sphinx, and temples. The invention of hieroglyphic writing, advancements in medicine, and a complex belief system involving gods, the afterlife, and rituals further showcase their intellectual achievements.
Egypt’s strategic location facilitated cultural exchanges, impacting neighboring civilizations and establishing it as a key player in the ancient world. The Rosetta Stone, with inscriptions in multiple scripts, exemplifies Egypt’s linguistic and cultural influence.
Understanding Ancient Egypt is crucial for appreciating the roots of human civilization, its societal structures, technological innovations, and religious beliefs.
Top Ancient Egyptian Artefacts
The Nefertiti bust, an iconic sculpture of Queen Nefertiti, was discovered in 1912 by German archaeologist Ludwig Borchardt in Amarna, Egypt.
Currently housed in the Neues Museum in Berlin, the bust is believed to have originated from the workshop of the sculptor Thutmose around 1345 BCE during the 18th Dynasty of ancient Egypt.
Queen Nefertiti, renowned for her beauty, was the wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten.
🗿 Where to see the Nefertiti bust: Neues Museum, Berlin.
The Rosetta Stone
The Rosetta Stone was discovered in 1799 by a French soldier during Napoleon’s campaign in Egypt. It was found in the town of Rosetta (modern-day Rashid) in the Nile Delta. The stone is currently displayed in the British Museum in London.
This ancient Egyptian civilization artifact played a key role in the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphs by scholars like Jean-François Champollion in the 19th century, as it bears the same text in three scripts: Greek, Demotic (a cursive script used for administrative documents), and hieroglyphic. This way, The Rosetta Stone, unlocked the mysteries of ancient Egyptian writing.
The inscription commemorates the deeds of Pharaoh Ptolemy V in 196 BCE.
🗿 Where to see the Rosetta Stone: British Museum, London.
Tutankhamun Gold Mask
The Tutankhamun gold mask, also known as the death mask of King Tutankhamun, was discovered in 1922 by British archaeologist Howard Carter in the Valley of the Kings, near Luxor, Egypt. The mask was part of the funerary equipment within the innermost coffin of King Tutankhamun.
Currently, the Tutankhamun gold mask is housed in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Crafted from solid gold and adorned with precious stones, the mask is one of the most famous Egyptian artifacts.
It was created to cover the head and shoulders of the mummy of King Tutankhamun, who ruled during the 18th Dynasty around 1323 BCE.
🗿 Where to see the Tutankhamun Gold Mask: Egyptian Museum, Cairo.
The Sphinx of Tanis
The Sphinx of Tanis, discovered in the ancient city of Tanis in the Nile Delta, Egypt, is a granite sphinx dating back to the 26th Dynasty (c. 664–525 BCE). It was found during the late 19th century.
It is currently one of the masterpieces of the Louvre Museum in Paris, the Sphinx of Tanis is part of the museum’s extensive collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts.
This sphinx is notable for its detailed craftsmanship and historical significance, representing the rich cultural heritage of ancient Egypt. Tanis itself was a prominent city during different periods of Egyptian history, and the sphinx is believed to have been created during a time of political and cultural flourishing in the region.
🗿 Where to see the Sphinx of Tanis: Louvre Museum, Paris.
The Book of the Dead
The Book of the Dead is a collection of ancient Egyptian funerary texts that were used from the New Kingdom (c. 1550–1070 BCE) to the Ptolemaic period (c. 332–30 BCE). These texts were placed in tombs to assist the deceased in the afterlife.
The Book of the Dead was not found in a single location but rather in various tombs across Egypt. Many versions and variations of the text exist, adapted to suit the individual’s status and personal preferences.
Numerous copies of the Book of the Dead are currently held in museums and collections worldwide, including in the Louvre, the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, and the British Museum, which holds one of the most preserved and complete versions, known as the Papyrus of Ani. The Papyrus of Ani was found in the tomb of Ani, a scribe of the 19th Dynasty (c. 1250BCE) in Thebes.
The text typically consists of spells and illustrations guiding the deceased through the afterlife, emphasizing the journey to the judgment of Osiris and the attainment of eternal life.
It’s a crucial source for understanding ancient Egyptian beliefs about the afterlife and the rituals associated with death.
🗿 Where to see the Book of the Dead: British Museum, London.
The Narmer Palette was found in Hierakonpolis, and it dates back to the Early Dynastic Period, around 3100–3000 BCE. This ceremonial palette is currently housed in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
The Narmer Palette is a significant historical piece, considered by some as depicting the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under King Narmer.
This Egyptian artifact is intricately carved with images and hieroglyphs, showcasing scenes of the king engaged in various symbolic and ritualistic activities. It provides valuable insights into the early political and cultural developments of ancient Egypt, marking the transition from separate regional entities to a unified kingdom.
🗿 Where to see the Narmer Palette: Egyptian Museum, Cairo.
The Luxor Obelisk is not really an archaeological find, rather, it is a modern monument that has a historical origin. It originally stood at the entrance of the Luxor Temple in ancient Thebes, Egypt, during the reign of Pharaoh Ramses II (c. 1279–1213 BCE). In the 19th century, it was gifted to France by the Ottoman Viceroy of Egypt, Muhammad Ali Pasha.
The Luxor Obelisk now stands in the center of the Place de la Concorde in Paris. It was transported and erected there in 1836. The obelisk is made of pink granite and is intricately inscribed with hieroglyphs, celebrating the achievements of Ramses II.
🗿 Where to see the Luxor Obelisk: Place de la Concorde, Paris.
The Turin King List
The Turin King List is an ancient Egyptian papyrus that lists the names of many pharaohs of Egypt, along with the duration of their reigns. It provides a chronological order of rulers from the predynastic period through the end of the New Kingdom. The papyrus was discovered in the ancient city of Thebes, modern-day Luxor, and is commonly known as the Turin Canon.
The Turin King List is currently housed in the Egyptian Museum in Turin, Italy. The document is damaged, and parts of it are missing, making it challenging to interpret in some sections. Despite its incomplete state, the Turin King List is a valuable historical source, helping historians and Egyptologists reconstruct the timeline of ancient Egyptian rulers and dynasties.
🗿 Where to see the Turin King List: Egyptian Museum, Turin.
There are several Anubis Shrines in ancient Egyptian history, but one notable example is the Anubis Shrine associated with the tomb of Tutankhamun.
This shrine was found in the burial chamber of the young pharaoh Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings, near Luxor, Egypt.
The Anubis Shrine from Tutankhamun’s tomb is currently displayed in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. It dates back to the 18th Dynasty (c. 1332–1323 BCE). The shrine is intricately designed and features Anubis, the god of mummification and the afterlife, depicted as a recumbent jackal.
It played a role in the burial rituals, emphasizing the importance of the god Anubis in guiding the deceased through the journey to the afterlife. The shrine is part of the rich collection of Egyptian artifacts discovered in Tutankhamun’s tomb, offering insights into ancient Egyptian religious practices and funerary beliefs.
🗿 Where to see the Anubis Shrine: Egyptian Museum, Cairo.
The Colossal Red Granite Statue of Amenhotep III
The Colossal Red Granite Statue of Amenhotep III is an ancient Egyptian sculpture depicting the pharaoh Amenhotep III, who reigned during the 18th Dynasty (c. 1386–1353 BCE). The statue was discovered in 1817 at the temple enclosure of Mut at Karnak by Giovanni Battista Belzoni and Henry William Beechey.
Currently, the head and the arm of the Colossal Red Granite Statue of Amenhotep III are displayed at the British Museum in London. The statue is made of red granite and stands over five meters tall. It is part of a series of impressive statues and artifacts associated with Amenhotep III’s mortuary temple, showcasing the grandeur and artistic achievements of the New Kingdom period.
Amenhotep III was known for his ambitious building projects and the construction of numerous statues and monuments.
🗿 Where to see the Colossal Red Granite Statue of Amenhotep III: British Museum, London.
The Khufu Statuette is a small ancient Egyptian artifact made of Ivory depicting the pharaoh Khufu who reigned over Egypt from c. 2613 to 2494 BC. Khufu is the pharaoh famous for being the builder of the Great Pyramid.
Egyptologists believe the statuette was made during the reign of Khufu, however, little is known about it or about the artist who made it. This ancient Egyptian civilization artifact was probably part of the traditional statue cult or mortuary cult.
The Khufu Statuette was discovered in 1902 by Sir William Flinders Petrie, a British archeologist and Egyptologist, during excavations in an area known as Kom El Sultan, in Abydos, Egypt.
🗿 Where to see the Khufu Statuette: Egyptian Museum, Cairo.