Experiential Mummification #1

Very cool post about experimental mummification… Thanks, Campbell, for sharing!

Animal Mummy Lab

As part of our research for The Leverhulme Trust, the BioBank Team have mummified several bird cadavers using experiential methods seen in the ancient mummies (Fig. 1) (kindly provided by the Natural History Museum Bird group, Tring and productive household pet hunting activity). The use of simple observation and clinical imaging were used to monitor smell, weight loss and temperature/humidity, level of desiccation and preservation, and difficulty in the mummification technique; all of which particularly relate to EM1 and EM10.

Experimental Mummies Figure 1: Wrapped Experimental Animal Mummies

Our experiences with clinical imaging have shown that they can be limited when it comes to collating zooarchaeological data (species identification, Minimum Number of Individuals, age and sex) from animal mummies that contain something other than a single, complete individual. To assess this difficulty, the NHM, Tring donated 6 bags of bird remains for mummification; the caveat being that they did not tell us how many or what species were present…

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Behind the Scenes: The Repatriation of Stolen Objects | American Research Center in Egypt

Have  you ever heard of Operation Mummy’s Curse?  Find out all about it in this interesting short article on the American Research Center in Egypt website.

Source: Behind the Scenes: The Repatriation of Stolen Objects | American Research Center in Egypt

Installing Oplontis

My spring is already crazy, but I hope to have time to go see this exhibition….  I got the invitation in the mail a little while ago.

The Kelsey Blog

BY CAROLINE ROBERTS, Conservator, Kelsey Museum of Archaeology

For the past four weeks it has been all hands on deck at the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology. Indeed, it has taken the entire Kelsey village – curators, registrars, conservators, educators, and exhibit coordinators – to bring Oplontis to life.

The first step in installing Oplontis was to receive the objects. Over 30 crates of artifacts arrived from Italy nearly five weeks ago. Kelsey collections managers were at the Museum (very) early in the morning to oversee the movement of the crates from truck to loading dock to gallery. The crates were allowed to adjust to the climate of the Kelsey galleries for about a day before being opened.

Oplontis 3 The Nike sculpture travels from the first to the second floor galleries

Our next step was to unpack and install the artifacts. We did this with the help of two couriers, Giuseppe…

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David Bowie: The Pharaoh of Music

I sadly learned of David Bowie’s passing while I was at the gym a little while ago.  With his absolutely amazing voice, Bowie is a god of modern music.  I say god because that’s what a pharaoh becomes when he dies…

Bowie-pharaoh

David Bowie as Pharaoh (photo from a post on the WordPress website of Olivia Macarte: https://oliviamacarte.wordpress.com/2013/05/27/bowie-plath/)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RIP David Bowie (1947-2016)

 

 

Egyptian blue: more than just a colour

An interesting article (especially the last two paragraphs) about new uses of Egyptian blue, with which you should now be familiar if you’ve read some of my posts during the summer of 2014.  It’s not often that art comes to the aid of science; it’s usually the other way round. It was appeared in Chemistry World and Paul Brack won the 2014–15 Chemistry World science communication competition with this article.

Source: Egyptian blue: more than just a colour | Chemistry World

The Kelsey’s Ugly Object of the Month

Suzanne at the Kelsey had mentioned this blog post idea when I visited last month. I’m glad it came into being because ‘ugly’ objects can be very important–sometimes more important than pretty ones!
Enjoy this post on Aphrodite and her prosthetic legs!

The Kelsey Blog

BY SUZANNE DAVIS, Curator for Conservation, Kelsey Museum of Archaeology

Beauty isn’t everything at the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology; we value all evidence of life in the ancient world, even when the object is, erm, ugly. This month’s ugly object is an Aphrodite figurine made from copper alloy (aka bronze).

Figurine of Aphrodite. Bronze. Late 3rd century AD? KMA 10888. Before treatment. Figurine of Aphrodite. Bronze. Late 3rd century AD? KMA 10888. Before treatment.

I would never argue that Aphrodite herself is unattractive, but this figurine has seen better days. It was severely corroded when excavated at Karanis, Egypt, in the 1930s, and the legs were in pieces. Sometime after excavation, the corrosion patina was stripped with an electrochemical treatment that was once popular for archaeological metals. This resulted in a dull, brown, pitted surface with multiple holes.

Fast forward to 2015, when this object was chosen for a special exhibition. We wanted to reattach the feet and other fragments, but the…

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Botany in Ancient Egypt – Part 2

Here’s part 2 of the Herbology Manchester post on plants in ancient Egypt. Enjoy!

Herbology Manchester

by Jemma

Part 1 of this blog post (https://herbologymanchester.wordpress.com/2015/03/17/botany-in-ancient-egypt-part-1/) focused primarily on how the ancient Egyptians acquired their extensive botanical knowledge. This second blog post will now look more closely at some of the plants that they commonly used – some of which you may know!

An Egyptian mummy wrapped in garlands of unidentified plants. An Egyptian mummy wrapped in garlands of unidentified plants.

Papyrus

One of the most well-known plants associated with ancient Egypt is Cyperus papyrus. The most famous use for this plant was to make an early form of paper. However, papyrus was used by the Egyptians for multiple purposes and was not limited solely to the production of paper. Other common uses of papyrus include the production of ropes, mats, baskets, sandals and chairs. The plant was also used to hold together bouquets of flowers and eaten as food. The open head of a papyrus plant was also a hieroglyph called ‘wadj’, meaning ‘green’, or…

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