Bead necklace

Accession Number
Current Location
House of Life (first floor), Jewellery case
Object Type
Jewellery, Bead(s), String of beads
Middle Kingdom
Stone/minerals (Carnelian)
Length: 230mm
Number of Elements
1 string

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A string of carnelian beads dating to the Middle Kingdom. The three larger beads are in the shape of snakes' heads, with two of them having engraved circles to resemble eyes. Snake head carnelian pendants may date to the Middle Kingdom (Andrews 1981, 66 nrs. 430–432) or New Kingdom (Andrews 1996, 85). However, examples shaped like ours date to the Middle Kingdom (BM EA 30860; Andrews 1981, 65 nr. 422). Similar pendants are also illustrated in Engelbach (1923, pl. LI.44). The snake head amulet Menqet or Mekert is described in Spell 101 of the Book of the Dead. Such amulets were often placed at the throat of the mummy. This item was purchased in 1924 by Wellcome from the collection of the Reverend Frankland Hood.


Aldred, Cyril 1971. Jewels of the pharaohs: Egyptian jewellery of the Dynastic Period. Photographs by Albert Shoucair. London; New York: Thames and Hudson; Praeger. Andrews, Carol A. R. 1981. Catalogue of Egyptian antiquities in the British Museum VI: jewellery I. From the earliest times to the Seventeenth Dynasty. London: Trustees of the British Museum. Andrews, Carol 1996. Ancient Egyptian jewellery. London: British Museum Publications. Engelbach, R. 1923. Harageh. British School of Archaeology in Egypt and Egyptian Research Account [28] (20th year). London: British School of Archaeology in Egypt; Bernard Quaritch.