Ever since it opened doors to the public in 1759, the British Museum has remained a true delight for the visitors. It is famed for its enormous collection of some of the most valuable and cherished artifacts from mankind’s early history.
The museum’s contribution to preserving these pieces of art is invaluable as well as in its propagation of these works to the public. The museum attracts numerous visitors from all over the world and is featured in most British Museum guided tour programs. Below are some of the treasured relics put on display in the British Museum, permanently.
The Parthenon Sculptures
The Parthenon Sculptures, also known as the Elgin Marbles, are one of the best pieces displayed in the British Museum. These marble sculptures depict scenes from the life in Ancient Greek and highlight the craftsmanship that prevailed in Ancient Greece.
These sculptures are believed to be originated from the 5th century BC among the ruins of Parthenon, a Greek temple located in Athens. Lord Elgin acquired these sculpture in 1816 and the sculptures have been a part of the British Museum ever since.
The Lewis Chessmen
The Lewis Chessmen are 82 chess pieces that were carved from walrus ivory and whale tooth in the 12th century. It is another prominent historical item displayed in the British Museum that was found in 1831 abandoned on a beach on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides.
It is believed that these pieces were originally created for a Norwegian king of the medieval era and represent the class systems that prevailed in the society during those times.
The Rosetta Stone is another rare and treasured relic that is exhibited in the British Museum. The stone is inscribed with three different scripts: the hieroglyphs, Greek, and demotic Egyptian. The inscriptions detail about the first anniversary of the coronation of Ptolemy V in 196 BC.
According to historians, the Rosetta stone has been highly useful to researchers in understanding about hieroglyphs and life in ancient Egypt and Greece.
The Oxus treasure is another impressive item displayed in the British Museum. It dates back from the 5th century Persian Empire and is a collection of about 180 gold and silver pieces. Together, these pieces are the only surviving ones of the famed Achaemenid metalwork.
Among the pieces displayed, the four-horse chariot is the most treasured one exhibited in the British Museum, and is a sight that you should not miss by any means during your British Museum guided tour.