Rome’s lonely pyramid gets a new lease of life

Yes, there is a pyramid in Rome.  A Roman pyramid, but a pyramid nonetheless.  Actually, it is the only surviving Egyptian-style pyramid of Antiquity still standing in Rome (once there were four). It belonged to a man named Caius Cestius…

As featured in The Guardian article. Photograph: Domenico Stinellis/AP

As featured in The Guardian article. Photograph: Domenico Stinellis/AP

It received a much needed conservation treatment last year… and it is now opened to the public.  I have seen the exterior of this little monument many years ago, but never the inside. (It’s was so long ago that I don’t even have a digital picture of it.) I should visit it again the next time I am in Rome; it’s not on my bucket list, but every Egyptologist should go see it and not just from the outside!

You can read this article in The Guardian about the conservation treatment, Rome’s lonely Pyramid of Cestius gets a new lease of life.

Mummies in Philly

Back at the end of June, I went to Philadelphia to spend a day at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. While I was in town, I met up with my friend and former classmate Kelly. It had been years since we had seen each other and caught up over a drink at the museum cafe. The parking meter was what cut short our conversation!

Wanna see mummies at the Penn Museum? Follow the sign!

Wanna see mummies at the Penn Museum? Follow the sign!

The reason I was visiting the museum  was to see mummies! The museum has a section dedicated to mummification in ancient Egypt and, since 2012, there is also an artefact lab when they conserve mummies!  I have been following their blog, In the Artifact Lab: Conserving Egyptian Mummies, for a while and there is great stuff being done there.

Nespakashuti in the Artifact Lab

Nespakashuti in the Artifact Lab

After visiting the mummy galleries, I went to the artefact lab to meet with Molly, a conservator who works there. We chatted about the museum’s mummies and she showed me some wonderful specimens.  There was this Roman mummy of a little boy, with all its bandages removed–he was so incredibly well preserved and beautiful.  He looked like a little boy sleeping… for all eternity.  And I got to meet Wilfred/a, Nespakashuti, the little girl Tanwa and many others. You’ve got to read their blog, it’s really interesting!

This trip was research for one of my projects, about which I’ll you later. It was a nice day, not too tiring… lucky for me, Philly is just an hour away from Raleigh and it’s a direct flight.  Didn’t have to get up at 4am, didn’t get home late. Had fun!