Moving Tasheritmin's Sarcophagus

The Egyptian room in the Nicholson Museum is currently being refitted with new cases and a fresh new look ahead of the Museum’s latest exhibition Death Magic, opening May 2015. Some of the objects that were a part of the previous exhibition will not be included in Death Magic and will either be moved into storage or be displayed elsewhere. One such object is the limestone sarcophagus lid belonging to Tasheritmin (NM01.7).

A new home was found for the sarcophagus lid in the reading room of the Centre for Classical and Near Eastern Studies of Australia (CCANESA) located on level 2 of the Madsen Building, University of Sydney, Camperdown campus.

The lid weighs approximately 400kg and due to the fragmentary nature of the lid, and past plaster reconstruction, is fragile. For this reason we engaged an external art moving company to assist us with the move across campus.

The first step was to move the sarcophagus lid and its display base onto a heavy-duty dolly. Once wrapped and secured, the sarcophagus made its out of the Nicholson Museum, through the sandstone paved cloisters of the Quadrangle, and on to an air ride truck. The trucks used for moving museum objects and art works are specifically chosen to cause the least amount of vibration as possible.

Once on the truck, the lid made the short but slow journey to the other end of Eastern Avenue to the front entrance of the Madsen building. Thankfully the truck was able to be backed up close enough to the building that the tail lift would rest at the top of the stairs. Carrying a 400kg object up a flight of stairs was not an option.

From the front entrance the sarcophagus lid was dollied through the corridors and up the service lift with the journey ending in the CCANESA reading room.

An acrylic cover was made to protect the object in this new display location. While the motivation for the cover was protection, an unexpected positive outcome is that the cover increased the presence of the sarcophagus, drawing the attention of passers-by.

To view the sarcophagus lid in its new home visit CCANESA during library opening hours.