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Mummy Museums

Last Updated 02 November 2013

 

United States Museums: Illinois

Chicago: "Inside Ancient Egypt," the permanent exhibit of The Field Museum, houses quite a few mummies, including about twenty human mummies, many animal mummies, and (oh, yes) a wrapped hand.  The exhibit is displayed in a reconstruction of the Egyptian tomb of Unis-ankh. On your way in, visitors pass by the accidental Egyptian mummy of a 50-year-old woman. She was mummified over 5500 years ago, when she was buried in the sand and her bodily fluids dried out from the heat of the sun.

The Oriental Institute in Chicago also displays many mummies in its newly remodeled Egyptian exhibit, including these:

  • a boy's mummy about 2,000 years old (from the Roman period), one of the first mummies acquired by the Institute. Bought by anthropologist James Henry Breasted and his wife on their Egyptian honeymoon in 1893, they kept it under their berth (along with three other mummies) on the voyage home.

  • Meresamun, a 30-year-old woman who was a member of the choir that sang in the Temple of Amun. X-rays have revealed that she once had a broken jaw and a broken left arm, both long healed before she died of unknown causes.

  • Petrosiris, a mostly toothless old man who died about 2500 years ago. "He must have been in agony when he died...with only two teeth left and huge abscesses on his jaw," said Emily Teeter, museum curator.

  • mummified animals, including an ibis, baby crocodile, and a shrew.

Just as exciting are a number of objects, many of them from King Tut's tomb. These include the dishes used for King Tut's funeral banquet in 1323 B.C. Unlike the other lavish treasures discovered in his tomb, these simple plates and bowls are made from red clay and rustically shaped. A few even have hieroglyphs indicating the food to be placed on the plate (such as "four cakes of wheat" and "seven grapes").

Other important objects used in making Tut's mummy (knives, bags of natron crystals, and other tools) are displayed as well.

 

 

 

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