There’s no way to see everything in the British Museum in one day. But on a recent trip to London I got to wander through some of the displays, marveling at art and artifacts collected from around the world. I always gravitate to the antiquities, and I usually start with the Rosetta Stone. When I first saw it, it was sitting right out in the open. Now it’s protected by a glass case.
This object, discovered by a French soldier in the town of Rashid (Rosetta) in 1799, was carved in black granodiorite during the Hellenistic period. It sets forth a decree issued in Memphis, Egypt, in 196 BC and is written in three languages: ancient Greek, Demotic script, and Egyptian hieroglyphics. Each text says approximately the same thing, and by comparing them, scholars were finally able to translate hieroglyphics—although it took them more than twenty years to do it.
Next, I usually wander over to the mummies in their elaborate sarcophaguses. But the ancient Egyptians didn’t just embalm people. They also preserved cats for a trip into the afterlife.
I also have a fondness for Roman mosaics, which are displayed mainly on stairwell walls, although in ancient Roman civilization they were used on the floor, not on walls.
By studying a list of “must see” exhibits, I also found some treasures that I had not seen before. Here’s a beautiful Aztec two-headed snake.
And did you ever wonder where Wedgwood got the idea for his Jasperware? He saw this Portland Vase, produced in Italy—probably in the Etruscan period, and determined to create something similar. It’s jaw-droppingly beautiful. And even more amazing, it was painstakingly put back together after a crazed museum patron smashed it in the early 1800’s.
I’m home now, but I can’t stop myself from thinking—when can I get back there and wander through some of those fabulous galleries?
Do you like to travel? What are some of your favorite places to visit?
Rebecca York’s latest Decorah Security novella is Hollow Moon, about a werewolf who almost loses his mind when he gets caught sniffing out a drug lab in the Maryland wilds.
NY Times & USA Today best-seller, Rebecca York, is the author of over 150 books. She has written paranormal romantic thrillers for Berkley and romantic thrillers for Harlequin Intrigue. Her romantic-suspense series, Decorah Security, is set at a detective agency where agents have paranormal powers or work paranormal cases. She also writes an Off-World series where each story is a science fiction romance taking place on a distant planet in the far future. She also writes the Unbound series for Changeling Press.