In a dramatic photograph taken in the days after the May Blitz this coffin lid is shown being rescued from the charred rubble of World Museum (see the Before and After section).
Dating to more than 2,300 years ago (Ptolemaic and Roman Periods), the coffin was excavated at Esna, Egypt in 1905-06 by John Garstang, honorary reader in Egyptian archaeology at University of Liverpool. World Museum had contributed £100 towards the excavations and as a result they received a large number of items from the dig for the museum’s collection. Many of the pieces presented to the museum were in pieces.
The coffin arrived in 10 pieces and was repaired in 1906 ready for display in the Main Hall of the museum. It was also on display on the night of 3 May 1941. The coffin lid was found in the rubble of the museum. It was cracked in several places, the nose and feet had broken off, and the surface was darkened by smoke. In 2008 the coffin lid was restored for display after over 60 years in storage. So far no record has been found for the coffin base or the contents that may have been associated with the find.