I know the exact moment when my childhood obsession with all things Ancient Egypt started. On a Wednesday afternoon after school, my Mum gave me a copy of the Where’s Wally magazine. I was hooked straight away, I wanted to know more about the Gods, the art, the stories and the curses of those who dared to disturb the graves of Pharaohs. I was so obsessed that even at the age of 7 I wanted to become an archeologist but then talked myself out of it as I was under the impression that ‘by the time I grow up everything will have been dug up and found’. How naive was I!?
Fast forward 19 years (yikes!) and I found myself reliving my childhood obsession at the latest British Museum exhibition, Sunken Cities. For the first time ever the lost cities of Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus have been rediscovered and submerged out of the banks of the River Nile. The exhibition reveals the cities were vital points of connection between the two greatest ancient civilisations, The Greeks and Egyptians. It provided evidence of the two cultures living harmoniously side by side, giving us Londoners a run for our money when it comes to being the best city on Earth for diversity and multi-culturalism. The Greeks that settled in Egypt adapted their ways and religion to fit in, they celebrated differences and similarities together. A truly remarkable relationship that makes me feel sad about the current global situation however, it gives me hope in that there is still use in learning about ‘dead and old objects from the past’. History will always be relevant. I was once again hooked about the stories of Osiris and his sister-wife Isis, in awe of the colossal statues and trinkets that were made over 2000 years ago which have still survived even though they were submerged under water. My child-like curiosity has come back.
The only downside (as with any major blockbuster exhibition) was how jam-packed with people it was. This wasn’t helped by the fact I visited during the half-term school holidays. However, the optimist within me thought the staggered entry would mean that the flow of people would be…well flowing. If you are going to visit the exhibition, be prepared to have a lot of patience as you are more than likely to see the backs of people’s heads while they huddle around to get a closer look of the smallest, most intricate objects you can imagine. And don’t be surprised if you find yourself doing the same!
The exhibition runs from 19th May – 27th November 2016.
Admission is £16.50 (Members and under 16s have free entry). For more information please click here.