Australian Museum Brings Ancient Egypt to Sydney

The deep importance of animals in ancient Egyptian religious practices will become apparent when a major antiquities exhibition opens in Australia in four months.

The Australian Museum’s upcoming blockbuster will feature the mummies of recently discovered animals thousands of years old, including a cat, a mongoose and a 10-month-old lion cub.

They were unearthed south of Cairo at Saqqara (a site that served as an Egyptian burial ground for 3,000 years). A treasure trove of antiquities has been unearthed there.

“Even Egyptians have not had a chance to see these items because they were only discovered a few years ago,” Dr. Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt, told AAP.

Dr Waziry, the Egyptian gatekeeper to all these finds, was traveling from Cairo to Australia ahead of the opening of the Sydney-based museum’s “Ramses and the Gold of the Pharaohs” exhibition in November.

Archaeologists have also encountered scarabs, snakes, crocodiles and vervet monkeys. Some of these animals have never been found mummified before.

Also found were the graves of 500 cats mummified as tributes to the Egyptian goddess Bastet, who is often depicted as a woman with a cat’s head.

“You never forget”

Such intriguing discoveries are why Dr. Waziri returns every week to excavations in Egypt after working in the field for 30 years.

“Every time you discover something that no one has seen for thousands of years, and you become the first to discover it, that feeling will last a lifetime,” he said.

The intrepid Egyptologist has also starred in two films, the 2020 Netflix documentary Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb and the hit series Unknown: The Lost Pyramids.

Dr. Waziri is happy that the show was a success, but said the filmmakers of “Lost Pyramids” were just archaeologists doing their usual jobs.

“Everybody in the world is talking about this and how happy they are to see us excavating and drilling,” he said.

a treasure trove of wonders

The Gold of Ramesses and Pharaohs showcases 181 priceless artifacts, many of which have never been from Egypt.

These include royal masks, jewellery, amulets and sarcophagi on loan from the Supreme Council of Antiquities.

According to Dr. Waziri, the show aims to give viewers an insight into the life and times of Ramesses II, who reigned from 1279 to 1213 BC and was arguably the greatest of all pharaohs. It says.

Ramesses the Great is believed to have lived to be 92 years old and had over 100 children.

Much of Egypt’s monumental architecture was built during Ramesses’ reign, including numerous colossal landmarks erected in his honor.

The exhibition includes a VR tour of two of his most impressive sites: the tomb of his favorite queen, Queen Nefertari, and the temples of Abu Simbel.

The exhibition, which has already visited the United States and is now in France, is attracting record crowds, according to the World Heritage Exhibition.

The Australian Museum had planned another Egyptian antiquities exhibition, Tutankhamun: The Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh, in 2021, but it has been canceled due to the pandemic.

‘Ramses and the Pharaoh’s Gold’ will run from 18 November to May 2024 at the Australian Museum in Sydney, with tickets on sale from Monday.

-AAP Australian Museum Brings Ancient Egypt to Sydney

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