It’s not often we have to work at a weekend (at least not officially!), but today Steph and I were invited to take part in an Andante Study Day exploring the mummy collections at the Manchester Museum. The day included presentations by Dr Campbell Price, Curator of Ancient Egypt and the Sudan, who discussed the process and history of mummification, followed by a glimpse into the modern imaging investigation of the human mummies carried out over the past 18 months. This really highlighted just how far imaging technology has developed since the initial radiographic study was conducted in the 1970s when hard copy X-rays of the mummies were taken. For example, the recent CT scans of Perenbast revealed amazing detail of the amulets encased within the wrappings, including the fine detail of the Eye of Horus on a metallic plate covering the flank incision through which the internal organs were removed. Sam Sportun, Senior Conservator, treated the guests to a ‘behind the scenes’ tour of the Museum’s conservation lab where some of the mummies and their coffins are currently undergoing remedial treatment.
Steph and I had been asked to present our research on the Manchester animal mummies. I first studied the collection in 2001 for my MSc thesis, but the mummies have since been CT scanned to reveal further information about their contents and construction. The guests were able to have a go at recording a selection of mummies using the methodology we use, before having chance to look at the radiographs and see exactly what the bundles contain. Looking forward to the exhibition, the mummies will play a major role, with many going on public display for the first time ever.
We always enjoy talking about our research and public engagement constitutes a large part of our funding remit. On that note, if you haven’t already, check out our day school dedicated to animals in ancient Egypt which will be held at the Manchester Museum on Saturday 10th May 2014. For further details visit our website and click on the link http://www.knhcentre.manchester.ac.uk/newsandevents/events/.