Press Release

March 6, 2013Exhibition

Inside Ancient Egypt combines the Egyptian collection of The Field Museum with realistic settings of ancient Egyptian life to create a powerful and unforgettable visitor experience. Visitors engage actively with both objects and ideas: exploring a three-story Egyptian tomb, walking along a recreated stretch of the Nile River Valley, lifting water with an Egyptian shaduf, and sampling the culture of an ancient marketplace.

Visitors enter Inside Ancient Egypt through a monumental three-story recreation of the tomb of Unis-ankh, the son of the 5thDynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Unis. The reconstruction is based around original pieces of the tomb, creating two authentic chamber rooms dating back to 2400 BC. The original walls feature masterfully crafted reliefs while accompanying new walls are decorated with hieroglyphs made using ancient methods.

Visitors move from the ground-level of the tomb towards the burial chamber, where 23 human mummies are on display. Included with the mummies and sarcophagi are dioramas depicting the full 70-day mummification process. Special objects and informative displays help visitors understand ancient Egyptian religious beliefs and give context to the elaborate preparations for death and the afterlife.

The religious life of ancient Egyptians continues through the exhibition at the shrine of the cat-goddess Bastet. Visitors to Inside Ancient Egypt can enter a recreated full-size village shrine covered in beautiful votive statues and complemented by an animal niche cemetery. Egyptians believed the gods could appear in any form including animals, and this may explain why animals were frequently embalmed after death, just like their human counterparts. On display are 31 animal mummies including cats, falcons, even a crocodile.

Inside Ancient Egypt takes visitors into the daily lives of ancient Egyptians. A Nile Valley scene contains representations of the huge variety of plant and animal life that made their home near the ancient river. Living so close to the water, boats were an essential part of the daily lives of ancient Egyptians. Visitors to Inside Ancient Egypt have a unique opportunity to see The Field Museum’s extremely rare, 4,000-year-old royal boat which belonged to the powerful Middle Kingdom Pharaoh Sen-Wosret III. This wooden structure has withstood the test of time and is one of only four on display in the entire world.

Past the Nile Valley, visitors enter a recreation of an ancient marketplace; a space that provides especially active, hands-on learning. The marketplace was reconstructed from authentic market scenes from tomb walls. The colorful marketplace, filled with aromas of perfumes and other goods, gives visitors a chance to explore and engage in activities that occurred each day in the market.

Inside Ancient Egypt is a remarkable look into the complex society of the ancient Egyptians. From Pharaohs to peasants, all aspects of life at this time are revealed with an unprecedented combination of artifacts, recreations, and interactive activities.