Something else I did yesterday was take a wander around the Ashmolean Museum, and very splendid it is too. Some of the artifacts on display are replicas (for example, the mask of Agamemnon, the original of which is quite rightly in Athens), and indeed there’s a whole hall full of plaster casts of famous statues. However, what they do have is well displayed, and there are lots of original pieces, including a very famous painting of John Dee. Tolkien apparently based his drawings of Smaug’s treasure on Anglo-Saxon artifacts he saw in the museum. But for me the prize discovery was the shrine of Taharqa, the Kushite Pharaoh of Egypt who features in my story in Airship Shape & Bristol Fashion
Taharqa ruled Egypt for 26 years and spent much of his time fighting the Assyrians, including apparently saving Hezekiah’s Hebrew kingdom from the army of Sennacherib. We hear very little about him, partly because he wasn’t as good a self-publicist as Ramasses II, and partly because he was black. His is apparently the only shrine of an Egyptian Pharaoh in the UK. Here are some photos.