How to write cuneiform
21 January 2021

Learn how to write cuneiform – the oldest form of writing in the world – with curator Irving Finkel, using just a lolly stick and a piece of clay to master the ancient script!

Ancient city travel guide: Persepolis, 500 BC
18 December 2020

Travel back in time to Persepolis, capital of the mighty Persian Achaemenid Empire. Sample Persian hospitality, get access to the awe-inspiring citadel and find out what to do when you’re there –  and what not to do if you want to remain alive!

What’s on at the British Museum in 2021?
27 November 2020

From the story of one of Rome’s most infamous emperors, to the assassination of Thomas Becket, see what special exhibitions are coming up in our 2021 programme. 

Discovering a 4,500-year-old olive oil factory in Jordan
26 November 2020

In this blog post, curator Jamie Fraser and scientist Caroline Cartwright run you through the archaeology and science involved in tracking down an ancient olive oil factory, and explain how the process of making modern olive oil would be familiar to people in the past.

Fake antiquities made for unsuspecting collectors
5 May 2020

When UK Border Force discovered two trunks of suspicious-looking antiquities, Museum curators were on hand to work out whether they were fakes or the real thing. Here curator St John Simpson explores the illicit trade of fake antiquities…

An introduction to Orientalist painting
9 October 2019

Curator Julia Tugwell takes a closer look at the art movement of Orientalism, and the way in which North Africa and the Middle East were often represented as lands of beauty and intrigue by Western artists.

How did the Islamic world influence Western art?
16 July 2019

Our newly announced special autumn exhibition looks at how artists and craftspeople from Europe and North America were inspired by – and represented – the Islamic world, especially the Middle East and North Africa. Exhibition co-curators Julia Tugwell and Olivia Threlkeld discuss how these artistic traditions and connections continue to stretch across the world and connect cultures.

 

Solar eclipses, then and now
21 August 2017

As a solar eclipse crosses the United States on 21 August 2017, Curator Jonathan Taylor takes a look at what the Babylonians thought of this celestial phenomenon.

Postcards from Aden
21 July 2017

Curator St John Simpson explores how the Museum’s collection of postcards from the port city of Aden in Yemen capture snapshots of social history.

Tom Scott vs Dr Irving Finkel: The Royal Game of Ur
29 April 2017

For International Tabletop Day 2017, British Museum curator Irving Finkel challenged YouTuber Tom Scott to a round of the oldest playable board game in the world – The Royal Game of Ur – a game Irving discovered and deciphered the rules to himself.

Ali’s Boat: a story of migration
21 April 2017

Ali’s Boat by Sadik Kwaish Alfraji tells a personal story of exile and migration. Venetia Porter and Holly Wright discuss how this artwork became part of The Asahi Shimbun Display Moving stories: three journeys.

Idrimi, the 3,500-year-old refugee
10 April 2017

The statue of King Idrimi arrived at the British Museum in 1939. The inscription that stretches across the front of the statue is now recognised as one of the 20 most important cuneiform documents ever found. James Fraser, Project Curator, Middle East Department, discusses the importance of Idrimi’s story, and how new scanning techniques are allowing us unravel the inscription in more detail.

Conservation and Observation: more on a copper alloy cauldron from Ur
20 February 2017

Hazel Gardiner is working on the Ur digitisation project, continuing the work started in the 1920s and 1930s by archaeologist C. Leonard Woolley. In this blog Hazel Gardiner describes using X-radiography and analysis to unearth the mysteries of a third millennium BC copper-alloy cauldron.

Corroded ruin or hidden treasure?
3 March 2016

Hazel Gardiner is working on the Ur digitisation project, continuing the work started in the 1920s and 1930s by archaeologist C. Leonard Woolley.  In this blog Hazel describes one of her current tasks, working on the metal objects and in particular a third millenium copper-alloy cauldron.

Conserving the pottery, terracotta and tablets from Ur
21 August 2014

Duygu Camurcuoglu is working on the Ur digitisation project. In this blog Duygu introduces us to the project and describes what her role entails.

What lies beneath: new discoveries about the Jericho skull
3 July 2014

Using a CT scanner to look beneath the surface, Alexandra Fletcher was able to reveal new details about one of the the oldest human remains in the British Museum collection, the Jericho skull.

In respect of the dead: human remains in the British Museum
12 June 2014

Alexandra Fletcher discusses some of the ethical and practical issues associated with caring for and displaying human remains in the British Museum collection.

A new look at ancient Egyptian textiles
2 June 2014

Amandine Mérat and Emily Taylor have been working on reordering the Museum’s Egyptian textiles collection not by provenance or date but by technique. By conducting a close visual examination of technique, and drawing on knowledge of their cultural background, they hope to determine the possible original function of many of the textiles.

A loan from Berlin: a lion from Babylon
19 December 2013

The Department of the Middle East have been preparing to display a panel showing a pacing, roaring lion that was once was part of King Nebuchadnezzar II’s throne room in his palace in the ancient city of Babylon, Iraq. Alexandra Fletcher explains how the panel has been pieced together to be displayed for the very first time in London.

Horses and human history
22 May 2012

A free exhibition, opening on 24 May 2012 at the British Museum will celebrate the epic story of the horse – a journey of 5,000 years that has revolutionised human history. Nigel Tallis gives us a preview of what to expect.