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The Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology


A wide variety of artefacts document Egyptian life and death from prehistory (before 3000 BC) through to the Roman period (which began in 30 BC when Kleopatra and Mark Antony lost the Battle of Actium to Octavian, later Augustus, and the Ptolemaic kingdom of Egypt became absorbed into the Roman empire). While many of the terracotta vases exhibit techniques used in later Greek vase potting and painting, many more vessels were made out of favoured local materials, such as stones and faience (a glassy substance that becomes a lustrous blue when fired, and was thought to have special magical powers).

Egyptian funerary boat ref E.23.3Thanks to the arid desert environment that has characterised large sections of Egypt since the Roman period, the 'Egyptian sands' have preserved many artefacts that would have completely disappeared from the archaeological record in Greece and damp places farther north: wooden furnishings, inscriptions, death masks, funerary boat, Roman sandals, and even textile fragments.

Of course many of the daily life objects - instruments used for adornment, palettes and mixing bowls, jewellery, tools, even objects used for weaving - would be placed in the graves with the (mummified) bodies of the deceased, to help them in the afterlife.

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The Ure Museum, The University of Reading, Whiteknights, PO Box 217, Reading, RG6 6AH
File last modified: 20 Sep 2017