Hidden Egyptian Temple in Field Museum Break R…


It’s a normal office break room — fluorescent lighting, coat rack, microwave. But it’s located in a museum, so of course there’s something a little quirky about it. In this case, it’s the 4,300-year-old Egyptian chapel sealed up behind the wall.

Believed to have belonged to two sons of the pharaoh Unas, the chapel’s limestone walls are decorated from floor to ten-foot-ceiling in relief carvings of rows of servants bringing food offerings for a funerary feast. The most striking thing about the chapel (other than the fact that it’s sitting in an office break room) is the traces of colorful paint that aren’t not quite faded from the walls, still gleaming deep ochre, goldenrod, jade, and cerulean after four millennia.

The chapel and its walls traveled by boat from Egypt to Chicago, where they were put on display at the Field. When the museum moved to a new building in 1921, the ancient chapel walls came too. But when the Egypt exhibit was renovated in the 1980s, the chapel wasn’t part of it. Read more.