Egyptian tomb fragment

Ancient Egypt has long held a mysterious appeal, as people’s daily lives and religious beliefs are revealed by wonderful objects. One such item in RAMM’s collection is this block of limestone. It is engraved with animals, birds, people and other images. These symbols are hieroglyphs, which were the formal written language used in ancient Egypt.

This fragment is a small piece of a bigger text from the tomb of Khaemhat at Thebes. He was a Royal Scribe and Overseer of the Granaries during the reign of Amenhotep III around 3,500 years ago. His tomb was discovered in the 1800s and recorded in detail, but much of it was later destroyed. This is the only known fragment which survives from this section of his tomb. The hieroglyphs were once painted blue so they were more visible inside the dark tomb. Traces of this colour remain inside the engraved images.

This is one of the museum’s earliest acquisitions of Egyptian material, but how it came to be at RAMM is a bit of a mystery. It was donated in 1885 by a Mr Horniman from Torquay. The Horniman surname is often associated with the Horniman Museum in London. The Horniman family collected ancient objects from around the world. But our donor cannot be traced in their family records, or in census records.

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