Petrie Museum Unofficial Page

Petrie Museum Unofficial Page This page celebrates a great museum - the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, UCL, and the work of the Friends of the Petrie Museum (PMF) to promote the Museum, organise lectures and events, and raise funds for conservation of objects in the museum.

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Random Objects 16 - UC34471, Mummy label of Osiris Nesmin/Nakhtmin, elder son of PadiisetLast Saturday’s cippus was a sm...

Random Objects 16 - UC34471, Mummy label of Osiris Nesmin/Nakhtmin, elder son of Padiiset

Last Saturday’s cippus was a small but elaborately decorated type of apotropaic stela, designed to protect the living from the multitude of threats that might surround them. Mummy labels are sometimes also concerned with protection, and can perform both as labels and miniature protective stelae but as their name implies, they are always connected directly with the needs of the deceased. Their primary role was to identify the dead for their overland journey to the necropolis.

Mummy labels are usually very prosaic stone or wooden tags inscribed with a couple of lines of text, but more formal examples have been found too, some decorated with simple images usually painted in black, like UC34471, sometimes in red like UC39590, also shown below. It is thought that some of these labels may have acted as a substitute for a stone stela for the lower echelons, portable and associated with afterlife themes. This idea is supported by the presence of a short formula in some Demotic texts that provides for the wel-lbeing of the deceased in the afterlife and by an alternative name of wy.t or στήλη (stela) that was occasionally applied to them. An example is UC34485, an undecorated Early Roman period limestone mummy label that reads "Pasherihy Pakhem the goldsmith, may his name endure before Osiris." Another is UC39582, another undecorated label reading "Anubis in the wet-pole, at the fore of the divine (ie embalming) tent, giving you a house of revelry, cattle and fowl, all good things that are good, pure and sweet to the Osiris Pana son of Padihorsematawy son of Pana son of Hornefer who went to his fathers aged 27 years 6 months and 21 days: may his soul live for ever eternally."

Today’s random object, UC34471, is an excellent example of a decorated limestone mummy label that may have served as a miniature personal stela as well as a straightforward form of identification. It is a particularly striking early Roman example made of limestone showing a recumbent jackal, probably Anubis or Wepwawet, who were both protectors of the dead in the afterlife. The jackal has a collar around his neck and holds a feather in his paws. He sits over two beautifully written lines of demotic that give the name of the mummy’s owner, Nesmin/Nakhtmin, elder (son of) Padiiset. Like all mummy labels, it is small, measuring 8.1 x 5.3 cms. It has a hole in the top, and has an embalming stain on its underside.

The mummy labels date from the Ptolemaic and Roman periods, and were designed to identify the deceased during transportation. Some bodies might only travel a short distance, from home to the local necropolis, and mummy labels could contain the bare minimum of information, but other people might die whilst travelling away from their home villages, and mummy labels helped to repatriate them for burial amongst family and peers. The labels always provided the name of the deceased, and sometimes other details such as the names of parents, the age of the deceased, a job title, and, more unusually, place names. The latter would have been of particular importance when someone died away from home. Further details are sometimes added to these essentials. They were attached to the body with a piece of cord, some examples of which have survived. There are four main categories of shape: round-topped, angular-topped, tabula ansata and rectangular or arbitrary. These are shown below.

According to the Mummy Label Database project, over 3100 mummy labels survive. These labels are not associated with high status members of Roman society, but there is still a social hierarchy visible in the materials used. Better-off people had labels made in stone (and much more rarely of faience and ivory), but wooden labels were available to the less well off, like UC45617 and UC45614 shown below. Although the inscription on UC34471 is written exclusively in demotic, inscriptions on mummy labels can be written in Greek or demotic (such as UC45623, shown below) and more rarely hieratic or simple hieroglyphs, and some are bilingual (as in UC34477, Demotic and Greek, and UC34468, Demotic and hieroglyphic, both shown below). Bilingual labels were probably intended to minimize confusion during transportation. It is not known whether one or two scribes was employed in producing bilingual texts.

Where illustrations appear in addition to text, the Mummy Label Database identifies five main themes: Sacred animals (for example, falcon, recumbent jackal, winged scarab with the sun disk); Gods (for example, Anubis or Osiris); Religious and funerary symbols (for example, knot of Isis, djed-pillars, funerary crown, burning torch); More rarely, the deceased himself; Other illustrations, the interpretation of which can be ambiguous.

There is a collection of mummy labels in the Petrie Museum, mainly assembled by Petrie himself. Although a lot of mummy labels in museums were donated by travellers and collectors like Robert Curzon (14th Baron Zouche, 1810-1873) and Alexander Henry Rhind (1833 – 1863), Petrie found numerous examples of limestone labels inscribed with hieroglyphic and demotic in early Roman Period burials during excavations at Dendereh. Most of them lacked accompanying images, and were nearly all round- or square-topped. Two examples are shown here. See a gallery of mummy labels in the Petrie Museum on Digital Egypt, which includes wooden examples from Akhmim and elsewhere: Another important collection of labels that were collected during excavations is a set of 61 in the Oriental Institute of Chicago, which were found during the excavation of a late Roman cemetery at Medinet Habu, which took place during the main excavations at the temple of Ramesses III. All were made of fine-grained wood.

Research into mummy labels was hindered for many years a) by labels being spread through numerous collections and b) by the way in which they have been published in a wide variety of unconnected academic publications. In 2007 the Mummy Label Database (MLD) was launched as a research tool to address some of these difficulties. A joint project of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona), and the Universidad Complutense (Madrid), it was designed to bring together both published labels in various periodicals and journals in once centralized place for research purposes, and to add unpublished labels as they were identified. The project also hoped to track down known but missing labels: “it is not uncommon for such items to pass from one collection to another and sometimes to disappear and go missing for years until they are eventually rediscovered later. The most difficult labels to track include those which were part of private collections, were sold at private auctions, or disappeared, for example, during World War II.” Since 2013, the MLD has become the core of a wider project entitled “Death On the Nile,” dedicated to the study of all aspects of death in Greco-Roman Egypt (

Hopefully the database and ongoing work using it as a central resource will provide more information in the future about mummy labels and their uses.

Gaudrard, F. and Johnson, J.H. 2010. Six stone mummy labels in the Oriental Institute Museum. In eds. Knuf, H., Leitz, C. and von Recklinghausen, D. Honi soit qui mal y pense. Sudien zum pharaonischen, griechish-römischen und spätantiken Ägypten zu Ehren von Henz-Josef Thissen. Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 194, Peeters, p.193-209
Gaudard, F. Martín Hernández, R. and Torallas Tovar, S. 2009. Mummy Label DB – 2008-2009 Annual Report. Oriental Institute, p.96-100.
Gaudard, F. Martín Hernández, R. and Torallas Tovar, S. 2019. The Mummy Label Database (MLD). In ed. van den Hout, T. Discovering New Pasts: The OI at 100. The Oriental Institute, Chicago, p.213-19.
Wilfong, T.G. 1995. Mummy labels from the Oriental Institute’s excavations at Medineet Habu. The Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists, Vol.32, No. ¾ (1995), p.157-181
Mummy Labels (limestone): A Gallery. Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology

Mummy Label Database – Introduction and Annual Reports. Oriental Institute


Tonight's lecture is by Dr Nora Shalaby
Friday 30 October, zoom room opens at 5.30, lecture starts at 6pm. LINK in the last PMF email.

Nora Shalaby The Abydos Temple Paper Archive Project: Exploring Egyptian Histories from early Egyptology

Most studies of the history of Egyptology are written based on the archives of western excavators who worked in Egypt around the beginning of the 20th century.They transcribe a historical trajectory based on western perceptions with little or almost no mention of Egyptian histories and viewpoints. While several revisionist studies have begun to reveal the extent to which western excavators in fact relied on Egyptian labour, and confirm the presence of Egyptians in archaeological practice, they ignore their intellectual contribution.
In 2012, a previously unexamined archive was discovered in a storage room in Abydos which challenges the view of Egyptian heritage workers as victims of the colonial discourse of Egyptology and bystanders in the production of historical knowledge. Dating from the mid-19th century to the 1960s, the documents, written by employees of the then Egyptian Antiquities Service, contain detailed insights into the everyday management of archaeological sites by Egyptians and highlight their roles during Egyptology’s formative years. This lecture will present an overview of the main findings of the Abydos archives, underlining the responsibilities, duties, and agency of Egyptian scholars and employees as they worked to manage their heritage in an environment of exclusion and marginalization.
Nora Shalaby gained her doctorate from the Freie Universitaet in Berlin in 2016 on the theme 'Early Copper and Turquoise Mining at Wadi Maghara: A study of the lithics assemblage'. She is currently a post-doctoral researcher at the Humboldt University in Berlin.
She received an EES Centenary Award in 2018 for "The Abydos paper archive: documenting Egyptian contributions to the founding of Egyptology" to document and translate a sample of the archive to assess their contents. She is the Director of the Abydos Temple Archive Project and it is relation to this work that she gives her lecture to the Friends.

It is not level 5 or so but good for the brain anyway plus you can practice your drawing skills, especially the birds; H...

It is not level 5 or so but good for the brain anyway plus you can practice your drawing skills, especially the birds; Have a nice weekend

This is a coincidence, just posted this morning a post about the same author, now another one from her page Hai...

This is a coincidence, just posted this morning a post about the same author, now another one from her page Hair and Death in Ancient Egypt, from today too good not to share in my opinion.
"The coffin of "Qurna Queen" is a rishi cofin, which dates of Dynasty XVII.
Its only figurative decoration is an image of Isis and Nephthys. Why?"

The coffin of "Qurna Queen" is a rishi cofin, which dates of Dynasty XVII.
Its only figurative decoration is an image of Isis and Nephthys. Why?
National Museum of Scotland A.1909.527

#AncientEgypt #Egyptology #Isis #Nephthys

@EssexEgyptology November lecture with Alejandro Jiménez Serrano 'An Intact Middle Kingdom Tomb Chamber At Qubbet el-Haw...

@EssexEgyptology November lecture with Alejandro Jiménez Serrano 'An Intact Middle Kingdom Tomb Chamber At Qubbet el-Hawa'.
Lecture 3pm, participants admitted 2.45pm. Free to members, £4 non members. Please contact [email protected].
Members join 1.50pm for our AGM.

In this blogpost Maria Rosa Valdesogo focuses  "on two wooden sculptures of Isis and Nephthys. They are nowadays in two ...
Isis and Nephthys Separated after Death. - María Rosa Valdesogo

In this blogpost Maria Rosa Valdesogo focuses "on two wooden sculptures of Isis and Nephthys. They are nowadays in two different museums; one is in the Art and History Museum of Brussels and the other one in the Museum of Fine Arts of Budapest.
Although they are nowadays separated it seems quite clear that they belonged to the same group. So, they belonged to the same funerary equipment. "

Two statues of the two professional mourners Isis and Nephthys are in separated museums (Budapest and Brussels) although they belong to the same group.

On the Threshold of the House of Eternity: Door Leaves and Tomb Doorby Kelly Accetta"How many doors do you think you hav...

On the Threshold of the House of Eternity: Door Leaves and Tomb Door
by Kelly Accetta
"How many doors do you think you have opened, closed, or passed through in your life? The answer is likely in the tens of thousands. If someone asked you to describe them, you could only probably do so accurately for a dozen or so. Yet doors are one of the most important parts of architecture throughout history."

Anna Garnett doing a live tour of the Petrie Museum for 'Artefact Bingo'. Hopefully the first of many. If anyone's wonde...

Anna Garnett doing a live tour of the Petrie Museum for 'Artefact Bingo'. Hopefully the first of many.

If anyone's wondering what artefact bingo is .... which is why I registered .... you call a number between 1 and 80,000 and they find the object number and description on the online catalogue ( and then they find the object and Anna talks about it - the object, the use, the period, the material... whatever comes to mind. All slightly frantic, and mad, and hugely entertaining! I'm looking forward to the next one.

This one was for the new students but some of us snuck in - we'll let you know when the next one is, and/or tell you when this one is available to watch online.

Limestone offering table of Penrenut - Dynasty XIX. From Deir el-Medina (Thebes). Petrie Museum, London (UC 14446)Damage...

Limestone offering table of Penrenut - Dynasty XIX. From Deir el-Medina (Thebes). Petrie Museum, London (UC 14446)
Damaged spout incised with two columnar bouquets of lotus flowers; between them, one column of hieroglyphic inscription on base of tank; also crude cake and two 'leeks' on either side of spout.
Hieros ... suggestions are welcome ... Transcription see figure in comments
sDm-(aS) m st mAat pnrnwt «Penrenut, servant in the place of truth»
l.: 18.5 cm; w.: 14.5 cm d.: 4.75 cm
Metin Gunduz: "I have to make a `correction` of the suggested Hieroglyphs -which is important- because the Offering Table specifically identifies the GODDESS as `NUT` with the Gardiner N-1 Sky Heaven-Sky Goddess sign and there is no`ripple of water sign` of Gardiner N-35 . Also there is `no` T phonetic (so called loaf of bread) actually `cap` sign it is rather the `lid` portion of `vessel` Gardiner W-24 sign variant which is also the sign of Goddess Nut ."

Nebamun’s pet dog

Nebamun’s pet dog

Similarly to many New Kingdom private tombs from the Theban area, one of the central images in TT 179 depicts the owner and his wife seated in front of an offering table loaded with food. This theme, originated from the Old Kingdom and used in various manifestations throughout Egyptian history, is often accompanied by a representation of the owner’s favorite animal or belongings underneath (or beside?) his chair.

Nebamun’s pet dog, famously reproduced in color facsimile using tempera in the 1930s by Charles K. Wilkinson at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, is an exquisite example of such an exhibit. Counter to Wilkinson’s technique, the greyscale, color-coded line drawing, created in Photoshop for the modern-day publication of TT 179, purposefully avoids indicating every shade of the original artwork.

Instead, the modern representation focuses on the mother dog's distinctive features, and intricate details, such as the appearance of dog hair, the diamond-shaped collar pattern, the flapping leash, etc. to be represented by maximum accuracy. A basic color scheme is applied to these features, emphasizing the dog’s white, salmon patched body against the darker backdrop created by the background’s grey, the chair’s black and the mat’s green hues.

Interestingly, the two artists working on the parallel scenes of the longitudinal hall, provided very different illustrations of said animal. While the west wall (shown here) bears an anatomically appropriate, very elegant representation, the east wall provides a more detailed, however less finely crafted version of Nebamun’s hound.

✍️🎨🌍 Visit to learn about documenting ancient Egypt!

#thisisegypt #ancient #history #digitalepigraphy #egyptology #ancientegypt #ancientworld #ancienthistory #preservinghistory #texturing #luxor #color #facsimile #egyptianart #illustration #archaeology #egypt #facsimile #Hatshepsut #newkingdom #dog #metropolitanmuseumofart #egypteveryday #egyptologist #doglife #antiquity #dogsofinstagram #doglovers #dogoftheday #dogstagram


University College London, Malet Place

Nearest Tube Stations: Russell Square, Goodge St, Warren St, Euston, Euston Square Buses: 10, 24, 29,59, 68, 73, 168

General information

Just five minutes from the British Museum! Leave by the Montague Place exit, travel up Malet Street, across Torrington Place by the Waterstones book shop and into Malet Place. A bright red banner hangs above the entrance

Opening Hours

Tuesday 13:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 13:00 - 17:00
Thursday 13:00 - 17:00
Friday 13:00 - 17:00
Saturday 13:00 - 17:00




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For the past 60 years this has been an important reference book for me. This edition is 1923.
My good friend David Moyer asked me to post this. KMT is a great magazine and I’ll be sad if it goes. : David Moyer To whom it may concern at the Petrie Museum. Thank you for the wonderful compliments for Kmt. It has been a major part of my life for thirty years and I am devastated. What we need in addition to additional subscribers is a rich Egyptophile who will fund us for more than just one issue , perhaps for the next two or three years. Or someone to organize a kickstarter or similar campaign (in other words, the proverbial knight in shining armor). It's heartening to learn that renewals have recently come in with an extra "gift" ($200 in one casse and $100 in another) so maybe some people have seen this fantastic Facebook posting. David Moyer [email protected]
The name Petrie originates in Aberdeenshire and Angus on east of Scotland. This is the coat of arms of the family. The scallops indicate an interest in religious pilgrimage such as to St Andrews & Dunfermline in Fife Scotland, Lindisfarne Priory on Holy Island in Northumberland. Equally one of the Angus Glens place names is Spittal of Glenshee. This is where our word hospital is derived. Perhaps a person called Petrie operated the house for travellers and pilgrims that operated there prior to the reformation. The scallop is also a symbol St James so perhaps to Santiago de Compostella in Spain too. The deer are numerous in Angus and Aberdeenshire so the influence of farming, gamekeeping & estate management are strong. The three Jerusalem crosses show a strong possibility of participation in the crusades. Sir Alexander Lindsay of Glenesk took part in the crusades. In travelling to the Holy land he would have taken a retinue of men with him for his defence and companionship from his estate and its likely at least one may been called Petrie, as a dependable rock like Christian (see first website reference). Best wishes to all Petries, the Petrie Museum and to all peoples from myself in Dundee Scotland.
I have found that if I 'like' anything on any site, I then get bombarded by all the 'friends' of that site, very annoying, so I have decided to like in silence.
I just got my favorite Magazine- KMT- A Modern Journal of Ancient Egypt, Fall 2020 - Volume 31 - Number 3
Did you forget our Sunday jigsaw puzzle?
The Explorers CLUB's #EGYPTOMANIA continues with the wonderful Ramadan Hussein - who will be joining us for a relaxed Q + A about all things Saqqara on Saturday the 5th of September. Ramadan is Director of the Saqqara Saite Tombs Project and recent star of National Geographic's show #KingdomoftheMummies…/sh…/natgeo/kingdom-of-the-mummies DON'T MISS THISS
This may make next year's Bloomsbury hieroglyph courses a little easier. 😁
Online lecture about Meroe this Sunday £4 for non-Essex Egyptology members [email protected]
Painting: Flinders Petrie Admiring a Find, the Ramesseum, Western Thebes (1895), Henry Wallis. Courtesy University College London Art Museum - see: