For culture, fascination, beauty, and astounding curation of intellectual achievement, you can’t get more packed than University College London (UCL). They’ve got the philosopher Jeremy Bentham in a cabinet, 68,000 animal specimens (among them a jar of moles and a dodo) at the Grant Museum, and 10,000 works of art at their Art Museum.
But among all of this, the one place at UCL that captures imagination more than any other is the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology.
University College London’s Egyptian collection is 80,000 artefacts strong, 10% of which is jam-packed into this tiny space just off Gower Street. The catalogue is the work of the writer Amelia Edwards and Professor William Flinders Petrie, who both donated large portions of the collection.
Thanks to their dedication, it’s now one of the biggest collections of Egyptian and Sudanese archaeology in the world. Among the catalogue is the oldest dress in the world (from about 2,500 BC), real human hair attached to a piece of scalp, a 4,000-year-old bead dress, and a couple of mummies thrown in for good measure.
And, not forgetting that the Egyptians had a preoccupation with sex and fertility, so there’s a few phallic symbols for the keen-eyed among you: a marble bas relief of the god Min is among the most famous highlights.
But, whatever you’re looking out for, keep your eyes peeled; with over 8,000 objects, there’s an incredible amount to look at. Put everything on hold for a few hours, grab your camera, and take your imagination on a trip way back in time; you won’t regret it.
Opening times: Tuesday – Saturday 1pm-5pm
Nearest Tube: Euston Square
More information: www.ucl.ac.uk/museums/petrie
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