A coffin on display at a museum in Devon is a rare 3,500-year-old Egyptian sarcophagus, it has emerged.
Torquay Museum were unaware of the coffin's significance until an expert from Bristol University identified it as one of only two in the country.
Dr Aidan Dodson, who is cataloguing the country's Egyptian artefacts, believes the coffin pre-dates the mummified boy's body it contains by 1,000 years.
He said: "It's very significant as very few coffins of that period survive."
The highly decorated sarcophagus and the mummified remains of a boy, aged between three and four, were donated to the museum in the 1950s.
But the artefacts were kept in storage for years and rarely displayed until 2007 when they were selected as the centrepiece of an Egyptian exhibition.