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The recent history of the coffins of Nespawershefyt

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Nespawershefyt’s coffin set was one of the first objects to be acquired into the fledgling Fitzwilliam Museum’s ancient Egyptian collection. Gifted to the Museum by former Trinity College students, Barnard Hanbury (1793-1833) and George Waddington (1793-1869) in 1822, the coffins were acquired by the pair during their travels. While we know these travels included a voyage between Wadi Halfa and Meroe as documented in their travel diary titled, Journal of a Visit to some parts of Ethiopia, almost nothing else is known at present about their time in Egypt.

In addition to Nespawershefyt’s coffin set, Hanbury and Waddington gifted to the Museum the Ramesside granite sarcophagus of Hunefer in 1835 (E.1.1835). Given that one of the fragments from the ‘lost’ tomb of Nebamun was also collected in Egypt by Hanbury and Waddington and presented to the British Museum in 1833 by Sir Henry Ellis, it would seem that the death of Hanbury may have motivated the sale of further objects from their collection.

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