Secret Egypt: Part 3
On a cold winter’s morning in late November three intrepid explorers set forth from Coventry to a secret location in Birmingham to collect a treasure for the Secret Egypt exhibition! OK, that makes the trip sound a lot more glamorous than it was.
In reality it was absolutely freezing and there was a reasonable about of lifting, shifting and careful manoeuvring. As you can see, the treasure came in two parts and, as it is mostly made from delicate plaster, it had to be handled and packed with care. The most difficult part was finding a way of securing the delicate model to the side of the van, to prevent it from moving.
You may be wondering what the object is and why it’s going in an exhibition about ancient Egypt… The model is of Abu Simbel, an ancient temple right in the south of Egypt. The model was made in the 1960s for a film – Khartoum. It’s a very accurate copy of the real temple, down to the hieroglyphs along the top and the earthquake damage to the second statue, which is why we chose to display it.
The temple itself was commissioned by Ramesses II, or Ramesses the Great, one of the kings featured in Secret Egypt – How well do we know the ancient Egyptians? The actual temple is enormous – most people only reach half way up the plinth the statues sit on. As we can’t get the real temple in our exhibition this model gives a great sense of the scale of Ramesses’ buildings and of his achievements.