The Highlights Of The British Museum

    The Highlights Of The British Museum

    The British Museum is one of the finest collections of historic artefacts anywhere in the world. The goal of this incredible institution is simple, to document the story of human culture from its inception to the present day. Okay maybe it’s not that simple. But they have achieved it here, with over 8 million artefacts. Obviously not all of these can be displayed at the same time, so some are loaned to other museums, some are on permanent display and others are rotated. This still means you’ll have one hell of a job to see everything contained in those hallowed walls, so we have put together a list of highlights that can’t be missed on your next visit. 

    If you have taken advantage of the great luxury London hotels special offers and managed to snag a room at The Chilworth London, then you are super close to Exhibition Road and the museum itself! So let’s take a look at the things you absolutely can’t miss.     

    The Sutton Hoo Treasure Trove

    The Sutton Hoo treasure was discovered by archeologist Basil Brown in Suffolk, just north of London. It stands as one of the most important discoveries ever made in the British Isles. It was a burial sight for a very important Anglo Saxon person, most likely royalty. Under the burial mound an entire wooden ship was discovered, filled to the brim with treasures from around the world. Suspected to have been a mighty and well respected leader, the identity of the person will likely never be known, but what it taught us about that period will be forever remembered. And the treasure haul is one of the most impressive anywhere in the world. 

    The Rosetta Stone

    The Rosetta Stone is one of the most historically significant artefacts in existence. Originally carved in 196 BC by the order of King Ptolemy V, it is actually more of a key than anything else. The stone was lost until 1799, when it was re-discovered during the Napoleonic campaign in Egypt. The decree carved into the stone is written in three ancient languages, ancient Greek, Demotic and Hieroglyphic, the written language of ancient Egypt. This stone was quite literally the key to understanding the ancient communities that lived in Egypt, dating back to around the 30th century BC. The fact that this stone exists is a miracle, and deciphering it was perhaps one of the most important moments of archaeological history. 

    Ancient Greece & The Parthenon Sculptures

    The British museum has one of the most comprehensive collections of Ancient Greek artefacts anywhere in the world. With rooms for Greek sculptures, incredibly detailed vases, and ancient pieces that give us fascinating insight into their advanced society. The Greek Empire spread over much of Europe, and the cities that the Greeks built became historical treasure troves. The museum is also the home of several incredibly beautiful pieces of the once standing Parthenon, built atop the Acropolis in Athens. These wonderful white marble statues and slabs tell stories of great battles and episodes from Greek myth. Truly magical.    

    Roman Britain

    The Roman Empire occupied Great Britain from 43 AD to 410 AD, and during this time a unique culture emerged. With the arrival of imported goods and settlers from mainland Europe, the Middle East and Northern Africa, a hugely rich and diverse series of artworks, sculptures, metal works and glassware emerged. A very intricate story can be told of Roman Britain, and the British Museum’s Roman Britain room tells it better than any other. 

    Egyptian Death and Afterlife

    The British Museum’s collection of Ancient Egyptian artefacts is second only to the soon to open Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo. The ‘Mummy Gallery’ is the home of hundreds of mummified people and animals. Several crocodiles and snakes were mummified and are on display in the ‘Mummy Gallery’, along with the sarcophagus and adornments that accompanied them in their tombs. The ancient process was so successful in the preservation of human matter, that some of the mummies even have visible hair and skin. It’s truly a sight to behold.   

    The Egyptian Galleries

    The Egyptian Galleries just below the ‘Mummy Gallery’ hold an incredibly extensive collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts. Taken from all over Egypt after its unification in around 3100 BC, the collection allows us an insight into the unbelievably advanced society that the country built. With tools and implements, treasures and possessions on display, you can truly glimpse into the past over 5,000 years ago. One of the standout features in the collection is the incredible bust of Pharaoh Ramesses II who reigned from 1279 BC to 1213 BC. Weighing an unbelievable 7.5 tonnes, the bust was found in the city now known as Luxor. The Wonderful detail gives us an amazing idea of what this King looked like, and the sheer size of it has to be seen to be believed!  

    The Great Court

    Now this isn’t strictly an amazing thing that the museum displays, but the Great Court has to be experienced first hand. It is a truly wonderful example of how architecture and design can bring art to life. The huge glass ceiling contains 3,312 individual panels of glass, supported by a whopping 4 miles of steel. This makes it the largest covered public square in the entire world. The sheer contrast between the modern skylight and the old stone buildings gives this court a very special feel indeed. Displayed beneath the sky are several statues, busts and totem poles that look epic in the incredible space. It is estimated that over 113 million people have walked beneath it, and I’ll bet all of them looked up in awe. 

    So there we have it, a small list of some of the unmissable things contained in the British Museum. Out of 8 million pieces I’m sure there are things that should be on this list, but you’ll forgive me for not being able to take you through all of them. The best thing to do is get in there and have a look for yourself. After an incredible day of culture and learning, you’ll likely have worked up an appetite, so if you’re looking for the best afternoon tea London offers then be sure to check out some of the incredible restaurants near Paddington Railway Station for some wonderfully warm cream scones, and pastries.