The ancient Egyptian civilization flourished alongthe Nile valley for over three millennia, leaving us with a wealth of material remains of paralleled scope. The great majority of this material represents the ultimate quest of the ancient Egyptians—to achieve eternal life—which is manifested intheir magnificently decorated tombs, their majestic temples, and the objects placed inside them. These objects constituted diverse magical means to ensure eternal survival for those who could afford them.
Most of the artifacts in the Israel Museum’s Egyptian collections are therefore from funerary contexts. Yet,since they reflect almost every aspect of ancient Egyptian culture, they offer the viewer an intorduction to this fascintating civilization in a country that has a long history of cultural interaction with Egypt. Of special interest is the Museum’s exquisite scarab collection, which includes more than four thousand items of superb quality and majoy scholarly significance. Because scarabs constitutte a primary tool fro reconstructing relations between Egypt and Canaan in the second millennium BCE, this collection also shedsimportant light on the hisoptry of the Land of Israel.