Hello Everyone!

My name is Jana Alaraj from Birzeit University in Palestine – Bethlehem City. I am a 2011 past participant of the International Training Program. This year I have been chosen to be a 2014 ITP facilitator to help out the team and to bring my experience of 2011 ITP with me and share it with you. Indeed it is a life time experience to learn, discover, and share.

I arrived on the 22nd of July to London Heathrow airport where I first met Emma, of course you all are going to meet her and all the ITP team soon.

Well I hope you all are preparing yourself to travel to London, and I can’t wait to meet you all on August the 3rd!

Best Wishes,


Posted by: BM ITP | June 27, 2014

My Work Experience at the ITP

My name is Sam and for the past week I have been participating in work experience here at the British Museum. I have been aiding in the preparation for the International Training Programme. My main interests include sports, especially cricket, golf and tennis as well as maths and learning interesting things in general, for example the Ancient Lives new discoveries exhibition that I am writing on. The exhibition as a whole provides a wide insight into the lives of the ancient Egyptians and Sudanese. It does this by using the latest technology to provide 3-dimensional imagery controlled by the user to literarily ‘unravel’ the secrets held within the mummies. This provides a clear representation of how these people lived their lives as well as how they looked after the deceased members of their society. From preserved food inside the stomach of the mummies giving information about their diet, showing how beliefs at the time led to preparing and protecting their dead for the afterlife, and also showing that these were varied with certain classes and time-periods.

My favourite part of this exhibition is the very first mummy. This is because I learnt many new things from this, such as, mummies can be preserved naturally as well as artificially. Also, what surprised me was how this young man was preserved perhaps the best out of all of them, even though it hadn’t meant to be. This is shown by the fact that its internal organs were preserved outstandingly due to the heat and aridity of the desert.

Another thing that I found interesting about the exhibition was how technology has advanced enough for us to estimate things like ages. For example, in 1800, mummies were investigated by being unravelled, however it was found that the positions of items and bones was disturbed using this technique and therefore valuable information was lost, this meant that the bodies were kept, uncovered, especially in the British Museum, until new technologies arose in around the 1960’s – 1990’s, such as CT scans and X-rays. These enabled bio-archaeologists to be given an accurate 3D image of the body formed from many 2D cross-sectional images, meaning that they could both examine structures such as the skull and see the placement of objects and bones without disturbing them in any way which would have been done in an unravelling process.

Apart from the last room of the exhibition, where three preserved skulls are compared on interactive screens, there is not a lot of comparison done throughout the display, especially between social stature and time-zones. Therefore, I advise taking note of differences in preservation across varying social environments. This is because there are major changes in any items placed with the deceased and in the embalming process.

The family trail leaflet provided at the start of the exhibition provides a great brief overview that is user-friendly for young people who may be learning about this for the very first time.

Posted by: BM ITP | June 24, 2014

Curator’s Talk – Ancient Lives: New Discoveries


Members of the public and staff members were treated to an excellent talk on Friday by Marie Vandenbeusch, a curator of the new “Ancient Lives” exhibition at the British Museum.

The exhibition introduces visitors to eight people from ancient Egypt and Sudan whose bodies have been preserved, either naturally or by deliberate embalming. Although the subject may be mummies, the exhibition is about life far more than death. Using the latest computer technology, the exhibition unlocks hidden secrets to paint a picture of people’s lives in the Nile Valley over a remarkable 4,000 years – from prehistoric Egypt to Christian Sudan.

The talk was a fascinating glimpse into methods used to unwrap the past, as Marie described the everchanging approaches to looking at mummies, from the invasive removal of wrappings by archeologists in the 19th century, to the unobtrusive and yet revealing technology of 21st century CT scans.

Marie explained how as CT scans have become more sophisticated, we are able to determine not just what happened to these people after death, but how they fared in life – from their everyday diet to the afflictions they suffered.

The audience was shown photographs of the exhibits along with astute commentary by Marie, and afterwards offered their own challenging questions.

The exhibition itself is a sensitive account of the lives of Nile Valley residents of the past, and we look forward to sharing it with ITP participants!

Posted by: BM ITP | June 20, 2014

Hello from a new member of the team!

Hello there,

My name is Emma and I have recently joined the department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan to assist with this year’s International Training Programme at the British Museum.

My role will involve helping with logistics, admin and other organisational aspects of the ITP. I will also be maintaining contact with ITP participants, so expect lots of emails from me if you are taking part in 2014!

I have previously worked for the Visitor Services Department here at the museum, helping visitors get the best out of their experience and to ensure the safety of the objects and galleries. Before joining the British Museum I worked as an English teacher, and volunteered for the Fulbright Summer Institute and the International Student House.

I have an MA in American Studies from King’s College London, where I specialised in built environments.

As a native Londoner I am thrilled to be working at one of my favourite cultural institutions, and cannot wait to introduce the participants of ITP 2014 to my home city (and the rest of the UK, of course!)

Sudan. International Museum Day 2014

Between 18 and 24 May 2014 The General Authority for Antiquities and Museums, in collaboration with the Military Museum, the Museum of the Presidential Palace, Archaeological Society of Sudanese and the Society of Friends of the Military Museum are celebrating The International Day of Museums. The theme of the celebrations is Museum collections make connections and features a range of educational activities, including exhibitions, lectures and heritage folk dance performances.

Huda Magzoub
Curator, Sudan National Museum, Khartoum, Sudan
(ITP 2012)

Posted by: BM ITP | May 19, 2014

Excavations at Hisham’s Palace

Hisham's Palace

Last week’s staff breakfast, presented by Dr Mahmoud Hawari, Curator of Islamic Collections at the BM, focussed on the excavations at Hisham’s Palace, an 8th century ‘Desert Palace’ 3km north of Tell es-Sultan, ancient Jericho.

Hisham’s Palace is an important early Islamic, Umayyad palace with spectacular architecture and decorative arts including stucco sculpture and carved stone, as well as stunning, now restored, mosaic floors.

A landscape survey of the area revealed a boundary wall enclosing the palace estate, and an aquaduct, reservoir, and water management system. The palace would have generated income via the sale of produce from the estate, as well as being a retreat for local aristocracy.

Hisham’s Palace has undergone five seasons of excavation and survey, and the teams working on the site come from Birzeit University, Palestine (one of whom will be attending this year’s ITP!), Bergen University, Norway and University College London.

The nearby town of Tell es-Sultan/Ancient Jericho has been put forward to be recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Find out more by following the links below.



We would like to let you know that we have just received information about a wonderful opportunity being offered by the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Germany, to all the British Museum’s International Training Programme  (ITP) past-participants.

The Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (SKD) shares the British Museum’s interest in cultural heritage. Like the collections of the BM,  the collections of the SKD are manifold and their history shows an early fascination and appreciation for cultures, art and objects from around the globe which lasts until today.  Consequently the SKD would like to continue the ITP’s work bringing together colleagues from different cultural backgrounds and encouraging them to exchange ideas and opportunities.

We are therefore delighted to announce that the SKD are offering fully-funded further study/learning opportunities each year for the next 3 years.

If you would like to apply for 2014, please email us for further information and the application form at ITP@britishmuseum.org.

A deadline for all applications is 30th May.  If you have any questions or queries please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Posted by: BM ITP | May 8, 2014

Introducing a new member of staff

Hello, my name is Ewa and I am the new Departmental Assistant in the Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan at the British Museum.

I will be helping to plan all aspects of the ITP 2014.Ewa Kazmierczak (2)

I have previously worked for the Exhibitions Department in the British Museum assisting during the Vikings exhibition build up, which was an amazing experience. I have also worked for the National Gallery in London for five years in the Information and Education Departments.

I have a master degree in History of Arts and in Geography, which I completed in Poland. I also studied Photography in Central Saint Martins in London.

I am very happy to help with all preparations for the ITP 2014 including processing applications, handling emails and looking up the best possible flight connections to London. As I am here in a temporary role I might not be here when the ITP starts so I would like to wish you all the best on the programme.


Posted by: BM ITP | April 28, 2014

Leadership Training Programme

The Leadership Training Programme is an initiative designed to support the development of museum professionals, and the museum sector, in India. The programme is a collaboration between The British Museum, The Ministry of Culture in India and the National Culture Fund (a funding resource for arts and culture in India).

Participants on the programme, drawn from museums throughout India, take part in three training modules created to balance the theoretical with the practical, build on existing skills and advise on museum best practice. The training is designed to enable participants to immediately apply new knowledge and skills in their institutions.

Click the link below for more information on the Leadership Training Programme:


Posted by: BM ITP | April 15, 2014

Excavations at Ras al-Hadd, Oman

Excavations of the Iron Age layers at the Ras al-HaddFort site.

Excavations of the Iron Age layers at the Ras al-HaddFort site.

Last week’s staff breakfast introduced us to the Ras al-Hadd excavations, undertaken by colleagues in the Middle East Department at the BM.

The Ras al-Hadd peninsula is situated on the eastern coast of Oman, where the Gulf of Oman spills from the Persian Gulf into the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. This places it at an important point for ancient trading between East Africa, the Indian subcontinent and the Arabian Peninsula, and gives great potential to the archaeology of the area.

The BM initially undertook a survey, soundings and some excavation works in the area in the 1990’s and were invited back, by the Ministry of Heritage and Culture of Oman, to continue the work in 2013/14. This time investigating previous occupation at the site of the fort at Hadd.

Find out more about the excavations at Ras al-Hadd here.


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