Secrets from the X-ray lab
12 March 2021

We journey deep underground to the Museum’s X-ray lab with Scientist Dan O’Flynn to take a look at six objects, and learn what X-rays can reveal about them.

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.

Depicting the dead: ancient Egyptian mummy portraits
27 October 2020

Senior scientist Caroline Cartwright explores how these fascinating objects were made, and what they can tell us about the people they portray.

Ancient Egyptian coffins and mystery of ‘black goo’
20 May 2020

Several ancient Egyptian coffins and mummy cases have been found covered in a mysterious ‘black goo’. Dr Kate Fulcher, Research Assistant in the Museum’s Department of Scientific Research, explores what is this goo is made from, why it may have been used and what it can reveal about Egyptian funerary practice.

The Great Wave: spot the difference
10 May 2020

Scientific researcher Capucine Korenberg zooms in on Hokusai’s world-famous wave and explores how subtle changes in the impressions and design can tell us about the making of this masterpiece.

100 years of science and conservation: recent conservation highlights
5 May 2020

From Michelangelo to mirror caskets, our conservators continue the centenary celebrations for the Departments of Collection Care and Scientific Research by sharing the projects they’re working on.

Saving Saraha: conservation of a Tibetan thangka
10 March 2020

From stitching silk to X-ray scanning, find out what goes into conserving a sacred object before it goes on display in Tantra: enlightenment to revolution.

What lurks under the microscope? Dust detective work
9 March 2020

We’re all familiar with dust. We’ve seen it gathering on windowsills or on the tops of cupboards, but what exactly is it? And how do we keep the Museum dust-free? Our Conservation and Scientific Research teams zoom in on the microscopic world of dust, and explain how they work to help preserve the Museum’s collection.

100 years of science and conservation
12 February 2020

To kick off the centenary year of the Departments of Scientific Research and Collection Care, we look back on some of the Museum’s most exciting scientific discoveries of recent times.

260 years – the British Museum in numbers
15 January 2019

Join us as we celebrate 260 years since the Museum first opened its doors on 15 January 1759. From cats to conservation, we’ve compiled the biggest and best numbers from the last two and a half centuries.

Paint and the Parthenon: conservation of ancient Greek sculpture
23 May 2018

Conservator Kasia Weglowska takes a closer look at ancient colour recently discovered on the Parthenon sculptures, some of which feature in our current Rodin exhibition.

Seeing stars: astrolabes and the Islamic world
29 January 2018

Curator William Greenwood takes a fresh look at some of the scientific instruments that will feature in the new Albukhary Foundation Galleries of the Islamic world, opening in October 2018.

The science of belief: a conversation
4 January 2018

Scientists Colin Blakemore and Tom McLeish examine how the cognitive impetus that drove the emergence of science might be considered to be the same impetus that fostered religion and other metaphysical beliefs.

Under the microscope: the Oxus treasure and Scythian gold
20 November 2017

Scientist Aude Mongiatti explains her process of investigation and discovery comparing the craftsmanship of the Oxus treasure with the style and techniques of Scythian gold.

Ancient wisdom: what tooth decay can tell us about the past
22 September 2017

Find out what a dental anthropologist does all day, and how tooth decay can lead to exciting new discoveries.

How we brought the Scythians to London
14 September 2017

Curator St John Simpson gives us a glimpse behind the scenes of some of the many steps that go into producing a major exhibition on a large scale.

Ladies aglow: finding the colour in 2,000-year-old figurines
1 September 2017

British Museum Scientist Joanne Dyer talks about the new scientific techniques that are casting ancient objects in a new light.

Scythians, ice mummies and burial mounds
23 August 2017

Curator St John Simpson takes a closer look at Scythian burial mounds and how they reveal what these nomadic warriors believed about the afterlife.

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.

New evidence of human cancer found at ancient Amara West
17 March 2014

Cancer is one of the world’s most common causes of death today, but there is little evidence from before industrialisation: almost nothing is known about the history of the disease in the past. Michaela Binder and Neal Spencer discuss illuminating new evidence of early human cancer.

Amara West 2012: the first glimpses of ancient living conditions and health
13 December 2012

Researcher Michaela Binder reflects on four months of analysis on skeletons from the ancient Egyptian town of Amara West, and what this new research can tell us about how they lived.

The art (and science) of a colourful, cross-culturally dressing statue
2 November 2012

Following our post last week about a cross-cultural statue of Horus, British Museum scientist, Joanne Dyer explains how we know what he once looked like.