The Bio Bank reaches 1000 mummies!

Well, here we are at the start of a new year. The AHRC grant is now entering the second half of its first year so I thought it would be good to update you on what’s been going on since July. I am working through the existing Bio Bank data to identify artefacts which fit my research questions – all those which don’t contain complete animal remains of one individual (approximately half of my data set). As is often the way when dealing with museum collections, information regarding the artefacts can be incomplete, so there is an element of research required simply to get the records up-to-date. From this point, begins a process of statistical analysis to establish whether there are any noticeable trends within the data which might shed light on the ancient practice of animal mummification. Early indications suggest that there might well be, but more of that when the analysis is complete.

This week the Bio Bank reached an momentous milestone – the total number of animal mummies in the database crossed the 1000-mummy mark, now standing at an impressive 1063 specimens! This was a moment that I began to doubt would ever happen as the numbers had stuck at around 960 for many months whilst research was undertaken. However, the recent additions of Maidstone Museum (UK), the San Antonio Museum of Art (Texas, USA), and Brooklyn Museum (NY, USA) has pushed the total up by nearly 100 mummies. Most importantly from my point of view is that all three of these impressive collections have been radiographed so I am able to incorporate them immediately into my working dataset. I would like to thank the museum staff for allowing access to the data and for their support of my project.

The particular mummy which won the accolade of being mummy number 1000 in the Bio Bank was, purely by chance, the spectacular ibis from Abydos which featured as the cover model for Soulful Creatures. Clearly, a very special mummy indeed!


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