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Decorated pottery vessel with lion-masks and cobras, Sudan, first century AD copyright, Ashmolean Museum [Ant.1912.410]
The collection has included important Egyptian artefacts since 1683, when the Museum was founded. Today the collection comprises around 40,000 objects, largely dating from between 200,000 BC and 640 AD.
Areas of particular strength within the collection are the Predynastic Period (5500–3100 BC) and the succeeding Early Dynastic Period (to 2600 BC), for which the Ashmolean holds one of the finest collections in the world. There is also impressive material from Tell el-Amarna (1353–1335 BC) and Nubia (prehistoric to Christian). The collection contains around 8,000 examples of inscribed material including papyri and ostraca with texts in Egyptian, Greek and other languages, forming a resource which is in constant use for research.
The Egypt and Sudan galleries are currently undergoing refurbishment and will reopen in early 2012. For more information on the redevelopment, visit: http://www.ashmolean.org/transforming/egypt/
A virtual tour can be taken of the old galleries here.
Information on the Egyptian collection can be viewed here.