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Granite sarcophagus lid of Ramesses III: E.1.1823

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Object information


Granite sarcophagus lid of Ramesses III




Red granite sarcophagus lid of Ramesses III in the shape of a cartouche. In the centre of the lid is the king depicted as the god Osiris in mummy form. On his head he wears the Atef crown composed of ostrich feathers, a sun disk and a pair of ram's horns. Emerging from his forehead is a uraeus, the royal symbol of protection. The king also wears a long plaited beard, another divine symbol associated with the god Osiris, and a long wig with lappets. The king's arms are crossed over his chest and in his hands he holds the crook and flail. On either side are the standing figures of the goddesses Isis (Proper Left - PL) and Nephthys (Proper Right - PR). Much of Isis's figure is missing owing to a large break in the lid which extends from the back part of her head to the base (the break was probably caused by tomb robbers in antiquity). Nephthys stands on the hieroglyphic sign for gold 'nbw'. In between the depiction of Ramesses III and Isis and Nephthys are probably four snakes, two of which have female bodies and heads. These snake-women, who probably represent the goddesses Nekhbet and Wadjet, raise their hands in adoration of the dead king. Hieroglyphic text is inscribed around the lid's outer edge.

Sarcophagus lid of Ramesses III


History note: July 1816 – Bernardino Drovetti meets Giovanni Belzoni and gives him the granite sarcophagus lid 12 August 1816 – Belzoni attempts to remove it March or April 1817 – Belzoni successfully removes it c. November 1817 – finds are shipped to Cairo 20 April 1818 – Henry Salt concedes a sarcophagus lid from the Valley of the Kings to Belzoni 27 January 1819 – Another shipment of finds from Luxor to Cairo and then Rosetta, including a sarcophagus lid May 1821 – shipped from Alexandria on the 'Dispatch' (Seti I’s alabaster coffin also on this ship) August 1821 – 'Dispatch' arrived in London Autumn 1821 – all objects moved into the courtyard of the British Museum March 1823 – Ramesses III's sarcophagus lid sent to Cambridge 31 March 1823 – lid arrives in Cambridge The link between Giovanni Belzoni and Cambridge is most probably The Reverend George Adam Browne who was associated with Trinity College. He was also a Freemason, like Belzoni.

Measurements and weight

Depth: 0.83 m
Height: 3.05 m
Weight: 7 ton
Width: 1.52 m

Place(s) associated

  • Thebes (Egypt) ⪼ Egypt

Find spot

  • Thebes (Egypt)

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1823) by Belzoni, G.


New Kingdom
Nineteenth Dynasty
Production date: 1200 BCE

Materials used in production

Red granite

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: E.1.1823
Primary reference Number: 49037
Oldadmincategory: SS
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 23 February 2021 Last processed: Thursday 8 April 2021

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Antiquities

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2020) "Sarcophagus lid" Web page available at: Accessed: 2021-09-17 10:48:12

To cite this record on Wikipedia you can use this code snippet:

{{cite web|url=|title=Sarcophagus lid|author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2021-09-17 10:48:12|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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