Sunday, 19 June 2011

Nile on your doorstep

Below is my “Big Day Out” column from the Saturday, June 18, 2011, Swansea edition of the South Wales Evening Post.

Nile on your doorstep
  A big day out!
  RICHARD THOMAS heads to ...
the Egypt Centre in Swansea.
With the popularity of films like “The Mummy” and its sequels, why not take the family to the Egypt Centre at Swansea University and discover for yourself the facts behind the fiction. Find out about the real Imhotep, high priest of the sun god Ra and architect of Ancient Egypt’s first pyramid. You can also see for yourself a real life Egyptian coffin, as well as other ancient exhibits from the land of the Nile!
Located within the Taliesin building at Swansea University, the Egypt Centre is the only museum of Egyptian antiquities in Wales.
The Centre is open to the public and also welcomes school parties and groups from early years, primary and secondary to graduate and post-graduate and special needs students. To book you can Email Wendy Goodridge at
The Egypt Centre opened in 1998, but its roots are much older. Most of the objects in the Centre were part of the collection of the 19th and early 20th century pharmacist and archaeologist Sir Henry Wellcome, who collected them from excavations.
There are over 4500 items in the collection. Egypt Centre staff have published over 100 online pages concerning individual items, which you can find on the Egypt Centre website at: The funerary items on display in the “House of Death” are one highlight. These include amulets, shrouds, statues, coffins and fragments of coffins, and even canopic jars, which were used by the Ancient Egyptians to store and preserve the internal organs of the deceased for their journey through the afterlife.
Bring a camera with you. Admission is free but you might want to visit the Egypt Centre Shop located in the foyer of the museum, where you can buy some keepsakes. Some of the more unusual gifts available include books of Egyptian spells and curses, as well as a wide range of statues, recycled glass, papyrus from Egypt, and exclusive hand-made jewellery. More conventional items like pens, pencils and key-rings are also available to buy.
The Egypt Centre is open Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 4pm.
Please note that the Centre is not open Sundays, Mondays or bank holidays, and will be closed for the Christmas holidays from 24 December to 4 January.
You can contact the Egypt Centre at Swansea University at the following address:
Egypt Centre,
Swansea University,
Singleton Park,
SA2 8PP.
You can also telephone on: 01792 295960 or Email the curator, Carolyn Graves-Brown at: