The British Museum has started running tours of its Egyptian galleries before the museum opens to the public at weekends.
Two tours are offered – either the big stone monuments gallery on the ground floor, or the galleries on the first floor which are, in normal times, some of the most crowded spaces in the museum as they are small rooms and very popular.
The tours start at 9am and last an hour. Tickets for either tour cost £33 per person.
The ground-floor galleries
In the Egyptian sculpture gallery, you can see impressive statues of kings and gods, monumental tomb architecture and ancient tomb reliefs spanning 3,000 year. These include the imposing, colossal bust of Ramesses II, the Gayer-Anderson Cat and the world-famous Rosetta Stone – the key to deciphering hieroglyphs.
The first-floor galleries
From painted coffins, statues and models of daily life, to spectacular wall paintings from the tomb-chapel of the high official Nebamun, the tour will explore the preparation of the deceased for burial, including mummification and the use of magic to help and protect people on their perilous journey to the afterlife.
The tickets offer a rare opportunity for a guided tour in this space – something which isn’t permitted during opening hours for the general public.