Skip to main content

Granite sarcophagus lid of Ramesses III: E.1.1823

An image of Sarcophagus lid

Terms of use

These images are provided for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons License (BY-NC-ND). To license a high resolution version, please contact our image library who will discuss fees, terms and waivers.

Download this image

Creative commons explained - what it means, how you can use our's and other people's content.

Alternative views

Object information

Current Location: Gallery 20


Granite sarcophagus lid of Ramesses III






Red granite sarcophagus lid of Ramesses III in the shape of a cartouche. In the centre of the lid is the king depicted as the god Osiris in mummy form. On his head he wears the Atef crown composed of ostrich feathers, a sun disk and a pair of ram's horns. Emerging from his forehead is a uraeus, the royal symbol of protection. The king also wears a long plaited beard, another divine symbol associated with the god Osiris, and a long wig with lappets. The king's arms are crossed over his chest and in his hands he holds the crook and flail. On either side are the standing figures of the goddesses Isis (Proper Left - PL) and Nephthys (Proper Right - PR). Much of Isis's figure is missing owing to a large break in the lid which extends from the back part of her head to the base (the break was probably caused by tomb robbers in antiquity). Nephthys stands on the hieroglyphic sign for gold 'nbw'. In between the depiction of Ramesses III and Isis and Nephthys are probably four snakes, two of which have female bodies and heads. These snake-women, who probably represent the goddesses Nekhbet and Wadjet, raise their hands in adoration of the dead king. Hieroglyphic text is inscribed around the lid's outer edge.

Sarcophagus lid of Ramesses III


History note: July 1816 – Bernardino Drovetti meets Giovanni Belzoni and gives him the granite sarcophagus lid 12 August 1816 – Belzoni attempts to remove it March or April 1817 – Belzoni successfully removes it c. November 1817 – finds are shipped to Cairo 20 April 1818 – Henry Salt concedes a sarcophagus lid from the Valley of the Kings to Belzoni 27 January 1819 – Another shipment of finds from Luxor to Cairo and then Rosetta, including a sarcophagus lid May 1821 – shipped from Alexandria on the 'Dispatch' (Seti I’s alabaster coffin also on this ship) August 1821 – 'Dispatch' arrived in London Autumn 1821 – all objects moved into the courtyard of the British Museum March 1823 – Ramesses III's sarcophagus lid sent to Cambridge 31 March 1823 – lid arrives in Cambridge The link between Giovanni Belzoni and Cambridge is most probably The Reverend George Adam Browne who was associated with Trinity College. He was also a Freemason, like Belzoni.

Measurements and weight

Depth: 0.83 m
Height: 3.05 m
Weight: 7 ton
Width: 1.52 m

Place(s) associated

  • Thebes (Egypt) ⪼ Egypt

Find spot

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1823) by Belzoni, G.


New Kingdom
19th Dynasty
Production date: 1200 BC

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Granite sarcophagus lid of Ramesses III" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-06-22 21:26:25

Citation for Wikipedia

To cite this record on Wikipedia you can use this code snippet:

{{cite web|url= |title=Granite sarcophagus lid of Ramesses III |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-06-22 21:26:25|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

API call for this record

To call these data via our API (remember this needs to be authenticated) you can use this code snippet:

Bootstrap HTML code for reuse

To use this as a simple code embed, copy this string:

<div class="text-center">
    <figure class="figure">
        <img src=""
        alt="Granite sarcophagus lid of Ramesses III"
        class="img-fluid" />
        <figcaption class="figure-caption text-info">Granite sarcophagus lid of Ramesses III</figcaption>

Sign up for updates

Updates about future exhibitions and displays, family activities, virtual events & news. You'll be the first to know...