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Ibis Staff Head

Copper alloy head of an Ancient Egyptian Military standard. Depicted are an Ibis and a snake, the former often a representation of the God Thoth.


It is the circumstances of the discovery of the artefact more than the artefact itself that is important in this case as Britain expanded its global power through the Royal Navy and its Chatham Division based on the River Medway.

The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge

The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge,
18 High Street,
Kent CT1 2RA


This head of a Military standard was found during digging of docks for Nelson’s fleet at the Battle of the Nile in 1798 and brought back to Canterbury by Reverend Cooper Willyams after the Battle of the Nile c1799.The Reverend Willyams, who became Rector of St Giles at Kingston, near Canterbury, was at that time chaplain of the Swiftsure, one of the Squadron commanded by Rear-Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson. He described and illustrated the finding of this and other items.

Curriculum Links

  • KS2: Ancient Egyptians, Properties of Materials, Artists, Architects and Designers in History
  • KS3: Ancient Egyptians, History of Art, Craft and Design, Materials and Components
  • KS4: Metals and Alloys


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