Large block of casing stone of fine white limestone from the Great Pyramid of Giza will go on display from February 8 at the National Museum of Scotland. It came to Scotland from UK in 1872, arranged by Astronomer Royal of Scotland, Charles Piazzi Smyth, and this is the first time to be allowed for public view.
February 8 is the bicentenary of the birth of Smyth and the large casing stone is one of the few surviving ones from the Great Pyramid. It will be centrepiece of a display at the new, permanent gallery of the Ancient Egypt Rediscovered museum.
In 1865 Smyth conducted with his geologist wife Jessie the first largely accurate survey of the Great Pyramid.
Earlier the stone was displayed in the Edinburgh home of Smyth.
The Great Pyramid was built in about 2589-2566 BC for King Khufu and it is the largest as well as oldest of the three pyramids in the complex. The interior was made from local stone while the polished limestone was brought from a quarry at Tura, some 9 miles down the Nile.
According to senior curator of ancient Mediterranean at National Museums Scotland, Dr Margaret Maitland, it is an excitement to them to offer such casing stone for display for visitors.
He added, “One of the seven wonders of the world, many people don’t know that the Great Pyramid would have appeared very different when it was first constructed, thanks to a pristine cladding of polished white limestone.”