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The National Archaeological Museum of Madrid was founded in 1867 according to a Decree of Queen Isabel II. The initial nucleus of the Museum's collection consisted of different objects, partly Egyptian, which had been kept in different institutions until then.

Since the end of the 19th century and during the 20th century, the Egyptian collection was increased in different ways:

1. Sales and donations of private persons who gave the objects which they acquired in Egypt to the State. Examples are the sales of Eduardo Toda, Victor Abargues or Tomas Asensi, or the donation by the Egyptian Government consisting of several coffins and shabtis from the 21st dynasty originating from the Second Cachette of Deir el-Bahari in 1887. Among these objects there are examples of an animal mummy, an amulet, a scarab, a shabti, a mask, objects for daily use etc.

2. Division after excavation. In the first place the Spanish have contributed to the campaign to safeguard the monuments of Nubia during the building of the High Dam of Aswan. From 1960 until 1965 the Archaeological Spanish Mission has realised several safeguarding campaigns particularly in Argin, Abkanarti, Masmas, etc. Since these operations the National Archaeological Museum keeps a collection of objects dating from all periods of the Nubian history. Moreover, the Spanish Government has acquired the concession for the site of Herakleopolis Magna and the National Archaeological Museum has excavated there since 1966. Up until 1980 there have been two divisions after excavation from this site and Spain acquired objects from the Heracleopolitan Period and the Third Intermediate Period from them. At present the Ministery of Culture and Education is in charge of acquiring new objects for the Department of Egyptian Antiquities through the Supreme Council for the Acquisition of Art.