A blockbusting new exhibition at Coventry’s Herbert will investigate and challenge the myths about ancient Egypt put about by Hollywood and popular media. Secret Egypt gathers over 200 objects from museums around the country including a mummy – called Perenbast, from the 22nd dynasty, discovered in 1909 – on loan from the Manchester Museum.
Ancient Egypt has always been a source of fascination and has inspired many books and films, yet some of the most popular and enduring beliefs are no more than fabrications used to spice up the story and excite the audience. Secret Egypt will provide evidence to make the visitor reconsider their assumptions about ancient Egyptian civilisation.
There are six key themes to the exhibition: What is real? What is fake? will look at how imitation objects were believed to function as the real thing in the spirit world.
Did aliens build the pyramids? explores the archaeological evidence showing that it was the sophistication of Egyptian society – and huge numbers of slaves – that built these splendid structures, not beings from other worlds.
In How well do we know the ancient Egyptians? the exhibition looks at such celebrated characters as Tutankhamen and Rameses the Great to compare what we think we know to what the archaeology says.
Beware the mummy’s curse! presents the true picture of mummification, and the respect and reverence shown to the body through the techniques that helped to preserve and protect it.
Which leads on to Were the Egyptians obsessed with death? This sections reveals the real reasons for the elaborate tombs and coffins which were believed to help achieve eternal life in the next world.
Finally, Whose Egypt? will investigate why ancient Egypt came to an end and the legacy it has left, 2000 years later, in our own modern society.
The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum
Until 5 June