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Sarcophagus of Merymose

-1380/-1380

British Museum

British Museum

Merymose was the viceroy of Kush (Upper Nubia) in the reign of Amenhotep III (about 1390-1352 BC). Kush and Nubia were important sources of wealth for the ancient Egyptians, and during the New Kingdom (about 1550-1070 BC) produced much of the gold which the regime required.

In the New Kingdom, the majority of anthropoid (human-shaped) containers for mummies were wooden coffins. However, there are a number of sarcophagi made of hard stone. The sarcophagi of Merymose are among the finest. Wooden coffins in the best burials tend to be nested one inside the other, with a maximum of four coffins. Merymose was able to afford three nested stone sarcophagi.

Only the lid of the inner sarcophagus can be reconstructed. The wig and beard identify the figure as divine (because of the identification of the deceased with the god Osiris). The texts on the front and the sides are a combination of wishes expressed by Merymose and spells spoken by various gods for his well-being.

The sarcophagi came from Tomb no. 383 in the hill of Qurnet Marai, in the southern part of the necropolis (cemetery). The tomb was discovered in 1940. Parts of the two other sarcophagi are also in the British Museum, with other fragments in the Musée du Louvre, Paris, and in the USA. Substantial parts also remain in Luxor.

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Details

  • Title: Sarcophagus of Merymose
  • Date Created: -1380/-1380
  • Physical Dimensions: Length: 46.00cm; Width: 43.00cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Registration number: 1965,1011.1
  • Place: Found/Acquired Tomb of Merymose
  • Period/culture: 18th Dynasty
  • Material: granodiorite
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Donated by Spencer, Albert Edward John

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