Recognised as the oldest public museum in the world. The British Museum was established in 1753 to house the collections if Sir Hans Sloane. It has grown to over 94 galleries, 4 kilometres in size with over 4 million object of antiquity. Entry to the museum is free but visitors are encouraged to make a support donation at the door. The museum is open from Monday to Saturday 10am - 5pm and on Sunday from 12pm - 6pm. The museum is closed from the 24th - 26th of December, the 1st of January and Good Friday. 

Russell Street Entrance

Once you have entered via the main entrance from Russell Street turn to your left and proceed through the bookstore and then through the first opening on the right. Continue past the Assyrian sculptures and head into gallery 25 which contains antiquities from Egypt. Upon entry to the gallery you will be greeted by two black granite seated statues of King Amenophis III.

King Amenophis III ( 1417 - 1379 BC )

Further along the gallery you will find the giant head of Ramesses II.

Ramesses II ( circa 1270 BC )

Just behind this statue and to the left you will find the Rosetta stone. This stone, containing Egyptian hieroglyphs, Egyptian demotic script and Greek at the bottom appears unremarkable. written in 196 BC and discovered in 1799 by Napoleon's soldiers in the Nile Delta it represents one of the most important discoveries of archeology. What makes the stone so important is the existence of the three scripts allowing scholars to translate inscriptions that previously remained secret.

Rosetta Stone

At the end of gallery 25 turn to your left and head into gallery 21 which contain antiquities from western Asia. This gallery contains reliefs from King Ashurbanipal ( 668 - 627 BC ) and his grandfather Sennacherib ( 704 - 681 BC ). Continue south through galleries 20 and 19. In gallery 26 and 27 marvel at the human-headed wing bulls.

Assyrian human-headed winged bulls

As you continue through the western Asian exhibits in gallery 17 you will find a stair case that leads down to the basement floor and more exhibits from Assyria. Gallery 17 also contains relief scenes of lion hunts that are very interesting. Continue through Gallery 17 into 16 and then back to 17. You should make your way back to galleries 26 and 27, near the bookshop where you started this Assyrian section. This is the completion of the Assyrian exhibits, we will enter gallery 1 which contain antiquities from Greece and Rome.


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