Mëroe, Empire on the Nile

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image of antiquities on display Glazed faience antquities on display in Paris, including two objects from Liverpool.

The other week I travelled to Paris with some antiquities which World Museum are loaning to the Louvre for their temporary exhibition, 'Meroë, Empire on the Nile', which opens on 26th March. This is the first exhibition devoted exclusively to Meroë, capital of a great empire on the Nile, situated in northern Sudan. The royal capital of Meroë is famed for the pyramids of the kings and queens who dominated the region between 270 BC and AD 350.

World Museum has about 500 artefacts from Meroë which are from the excavations of Professor John Garstang from 1909 to 1914. John Garstang was Professor of Methods and Practice of Archaeology at Liverpool University (1907-41) and he made the first systematic investigation and examination on a large scale of the city of Meroë and its surroundings. Garstang discovered a number of temples, palaces and public buildings. The Lady Lever Art Gallery also has a small collection of antiquities from Meroë as William Hesketh Lever helped to finance Garstang's excavations.

The exhibition comprises for the most part loans from the Museum of Khartoum and from the British Museum in London, the World Museum and Garstang Museum of Archaeology in Liverpool, and institutions in Munich, Berlin and Leiden. It's open till the 6th September 2010 and is well a visit if you are interested in Egyptology and African archaeology. It's a rare chance to see these separate collections brought together to tell the fascinating story of this ancient African empire. Some of the curators at the Louvre excavate at Meroë and a video on the gallery reveals how work is still going on at this ancient city.