Nesyamun living in Thebes 3,000 years ago

This resource is part of the Museum Snapshot collection - a collection of smaller resources perfect for starters, plenaries or spare moments to explore something fascinating.

Introducing Nesyamun. He lived in Thebes, Egypt, and died in his mid-forties. He was buried in this coffin, covered in spices and wrapped in 40 layers of linen bandages. The coffin was painted with hieroglyphic
words from the Book of the Dead, which contain prayers for his safe passage to the afterlife. And then the coffin was shut. And so it stayed, for over 3,000 years.

The writing on the coffin tell us a lot about Nesyamun’s life. We know that he died in the reign of Ramesses XI, who ruled Egypt 1113-1085 BC. We also know that Nesyamun was a priest in the Karnak area at Thebes, which is in modern day Luxor. Finally, we can tell which temple he was in charge of; the temple of Amun, the state god of Egypt. The clue is in his name: 'Nesyamun' means the one belonging to Amun'.

Nesyamun has been examined by scientists a number of times. Study into the diseases he suffered from help us to build up a picture of how he lived and even how he died.

John Blayds, a rich Leeds banker, bought the mummy from Bullock’s Museum in London for the museum of the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society. The coffin of Nesyamun containing his mummified body and a wooden mummy cover arrived in Leeds in 1823.

Discussion Ideas:

  • Why do we find mummies so fascinating?
  • What did the Ancient Egyptians believe about life after death?
  • What do you think of the Egyptian idea of life after death?
  • What would be your personal ideal life after death?
  • Design a tomb, or a sarcophagus for yourself
  • What are hieroglyphs and what do they tell us?
  • Luxor is the modern city of Thebes, see if you can find it on the Google map below

Other Egyptian resources on My Learning

A Step by Step Guide to Mummification

Ancient Eygpt - Death and the Afterlife

Ancient Eygpt - Objects from Daily Life

Detail of the Eygptian Mummy of Nesyamun who lived in Thebes over 3,000 years ago
The outer coffin lid of the mummy Nesyamun
Detail of the outer coffin lid of Nesyamun who lived in Thebes over 3,000 years ago.
Detail of the inner coffin lid of Nesyamun who lived in Thebes over 3,000 years ago.