We were told before we went in that if you were to spend one minute at each display in the Archaeological museum, it would take you nine months to get through it all, and I believe it. This huge building is packed with statues, pottery, jewelry, etc. from all periods of ancient Egyptian history. For time’s sake, I will only tell about three main highlights for me.
First, we had an opportunity to enter the royal mummy room. It was incredible to stare into the face of Ramses II and Queen Hatshepsut. Their bodies have been preserved so well that most of the mummies still have hair, teeth, fingernails, etc. One thing I noticed was that most of the Pharaohs on display died in their early to mid 40s, yet Ramses II lived to the grand age of 65 (granted, he suffered from numerous health problems). I couldn’t help but wonder what these rulers would think if they knew that their mummified bodies were now on display thousands of years after they died for hundreds of thousands of foreiners to gawk at? I know I would not be happy at all if that many strangers were staring at my 3000 year old body.
Second, we got to see the Stella of Meremptah, a huge stone in which the life and times of this Pharaoh are chronicled. The most interesting part about this discovery is the fact that the Pharaoh records, “There is no seed left of the Hebrews in all of Egypt.” This is one of the key archaeological finds supporting and setting a limit on the date of the Exodus.
Finally, one of the main attractions of the museum is the wing dedicated to all the assortment of stuff found in the tomb of King Tutankhamun, everything from pottery, to bed frames, to hockey sticks, to chariots, to the gold mask of his coffin. It was truely impressive to see how many treasures this short-lived Pharaoh was buried with. We’re talking about hundreds of millions of dollars worth of gold, silver, fine jewels, and other assets. Scholars have found out as much about Egyptian culture from the discoveries in Tut’s tomb than just about any other single discovery. I can’t even fathom how much more stuff would have been buried with the more important Pharaohs, like Ramses II or Thutmosis III.
Again, there is so much more I could write about, but these were the highlights of the museum.