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To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site

 

22 May – 30 November 2014
#8mummies

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  • A young man preserved in the sand (Gebelein Man B)
  • A man embalmed for the afterlife (Linen man)
  • Tamut: a high-ranking priest’s daughter
  • Padiamenet: a temple doorkeeper
  • Tjayasetimu: a young temple singer
  • An unusual mummy from the Roman Period
  • A young child from the Roman Period
  • A Christian woman from Sudan

A young man preserved in the sand (Gebelein Man)


A young man preserved in the sand (Gebelein Man B)

Photo of A young man preserved in the sand (Gebelein Man)

Name
Unknown

Sex
Male

Age at death
Young adult (20-35 years)

Estimated stature
160cm (5 feet 3 inches)

Pathological conditions
None detected

Place of discovery
Gebelein, Egypt

Date
Middle Predynastic Period, about 3500 BC

How and where was he discovered?
Which organs were preserved?
Who was he buried with?

Limestone funerary statuette of a servant grinding corn on a quern, providing an eternal supply of food for the deceased. 6th Dynasty, about 2345-2181 BC

Can we tell what he might have eaten?

Flat loaf of bread, which retains the impression of the hand of the baker who had shaped the dough while soft. From Thebes, New Kingdom, about 1550-1069 BC

How old was he when he died?
How was he packed to go for scanning?
What is a natural mummy?

A man embalmed for the afterlife (Linen man)

Photo of Linen man

Name
Unknown

Sex
Male

Age at death
Middle to old adult (35 years + )

Estimated stature
171 cm (5 feet 7 inches)

Pathological conditions
Numerous dental abscesses; tooth loss; tooth decay

Place of discovery
Thebes, Egypt

Date
26th Dynasty, about 600 BC

What's wrong with his teeth?
What is a dental abcess?
How do our teeth compare with Ancient Egyptians?

Base and lid of an anthropoid outer coffin of Shepenmehyt, with elaborate polychrome painted decoration. From Thebes, 26th Dynasty, 600 BC

Why was he in a female coffin?

Inner coffin of Shepenmehyt. From Thebes, 26th Dynasty, 600 BC

Would others have noticed his dental problems?
How did he arrive in the Museum's collection?

Bronze tweezers. Very few embalmers' implements have been found, but tweezers like these would have been part of their tool kit. Late Period, after 664 BC

How did the embalmer preserve him?

Copper model of a sieve from the tomb of Idy at Abydos. Sieves were sometimes used to strain fluids in mummification rituals. 6th Dynasty, about 2200 BC

How are CT scans used in modern dentistry?
How tall was he?
What was the most surprising discovery?
Could he have died from bad teeth?
Why was his brain removed?

Tamut: a high-ranking priest’s daughter

Photo of Tamut: a high-ranking priest’s daughter

Name
Tayesmutengebtiu (abbreviated form: Tamut)

Titles
Lady of the House, Chantress of Amun

Sex
Female

Age at death
Adult (30 years + )

Estimated stature
157 cm (5 feet 2 inches)

Pathological conditions
Atherosclerosis (plaque in the arteries); dental abscess

Place of discovery
Thebes, Egypt

Date
Early 22nd Dynasty, about 900 BC

What is her name?
What did she do for a living?

Faience 'uraeus' serpent amulet, possibly representing Wadjet, the patron goddess of lower Egypt. Third Intermediate Period or Late Period, about 1070-305 BC

What do we know about her life?

Red jasper knot amulet representing the knot ('tit') of the sash of the goddess Isis. Inscribed with the name of its owner, Nefer. 19th-20th Dynasty, about 1250BC-1100 BC

What have the CT scans revealed?

Obsidian amulet in the form of a wedjat-eye motif, a symbol for the state of being whole. Third Intermediate Period or Late Period, about 1070-305 BC

What do her amulets mean?

Open-work green glazed composition amulet in the form of a wedjat-eye within a rectangular frame. 26th Dynasty, 664-525 BC

What can we tell about the embalming process?

Basalt heart scarab inscribed with a spell to prevent the heart from revealing a person's wicked deeds when judged by Osiris. New Kingdom, about 1550-1070 BC or later

How was she buried?

Painting on Tamut's coffin showing her receiving life-giving water from the gods Horus and Thoth.

What do the images on her coffin depict?
What role did women play in anceint Egypt?
How old was she?
What can we tell about her health?
Is it surprising she had high cholesterol?
What might have caused her high cholesterol?
Can plaque in arteries be fatal?
How do we treat high cholesterol?
How might atheroma affect their daily lives?

Padiamenet: a temple doorkeeper

Photo of Padiamenet

Name
Padiamenet

Titles
Chief Doorkeeper of the temple of Ra; Chief Barber of the temple of Ra and Amun.

Sex
Male

Age at death
Middle adult (35–50 years)

Estimated stature
170 cm (5 feet 7 inches)

Pathological conditions
Numerous dental abscesses; atherosclerosis (plaque in the arteries)

Place of discovery
Thebes, Egypt

Date
25th Dynasty, about 700 BC

What happens when mummification goes wrong?
What did he do for a living?
What was the role of an ancient Egyptian bouncer?
Did he have any family?

Section of a funerary papyrus showing a spell to prevent the deceased being decapitated in the afterlife. From Thebes, Ptolemaic period, about 305-30 BC

What can we tell about his health?
What can we tell about the embalming process?

Tjayasetimu: a young temple singer

Photo of Tjayasetimu

Name
Tjayasetimu

Titles
Singer of the Interior of Amun

Sex
Female

Age at death
Child (approximately 7 years)

Estimated stature
125 cm (4 feet 1 inch)

Pathological conditions
None detected

Place of discovery
Thebes or Faiyum region, Egypt

Date
22nd Dynasty, about 800 BC

How was she packed to go for scanning?
How old was she?

Pair of inlaid gold bracelets of Prince Nimlot showing a child god wearing a sidelock and holding a finger to his lips. Early 22nd Dynasty, about 900 BC

Is it common to find child mummies?
Was her mummy case decorated?
What do we know about her life?

Pair of ceremonial bone clappers in the form of human forearms, each bearing a carved face of the goddess Hathor. From Thebes, New Kingdom, about 1550-1070BC

What type of musical instrument did she play?

Arched wooden harp, a type of instrument which was played by both male and female musicians. From Thebes, New Kingdom, about 1550-1070 BC

Can we tell anything about her appearance?

Wig made from human hair. This type of wig would have been worn by a man of high status. Probably from Deir el-Medina, late 18th Dynasty, about 1350-1300 BC

Why did Ancient Egyptians wear wigs?

Steatite figure of a girl holding a kohl pot. Used as a vessel for the black-coloured eye cosmetic kohl. From Thebes, Egypt, 12th Dynasty, about 1985-1795 BC

How can we tell her age?
Were children mummified differently?

An unusual mummy from the Roman Period

Photo of An unusual mummy from the Roman Period

Name
Unknown

Sex
Male

Age at death
Adult (20 years + )

Estimated stature
167 cm (5 feet 6 inches)

Pathological conditions
Severe tooth loss; numerous dental abscesses; tooth decay

Place of discovery
Thebes, Egypt

Date
Roman Period, after 30 BC

How was he packed to go for scanning?
What is unusual about this mummy?
Where was this mummy found?
Why was a Roman person mummified?
How did he die?
Can we tell anything about his appearance?

A young child from the Roman Period

Photo of A young child from the Roman Period

Name
Unknown

Sex
Male

Age at death
Young child (approximately 2 years)

Estimated stature
Position of body does not allow measurement

Pathological conditions
None detected

Place of discovery
Hawara, Egypt

Date
Roman Period, about AD 40–60

Is there evidence of a change of attitude to children over time?

Pair of child’s leather sandals. Sandals are often found in tombs, but are more usually made of woven reeds or wood. From Thebes, New Kingdom, about 1550-1069 BC

What do we know about children in ancient Egypt?

Painted wooden model of a horse on wheels, with painted details of mane, saddle and bands tied around the horse. From Akhmim, Roman period after 30 BC

How did it feel when you first saw his coffin?

Painted clay model of a mouse, with a wooden jaw and a tail that can be pulled to open the mouth. Possibly from New Kingdom, about 1550-1070 BC

How old was this mummy when he died?

One of a pair of silver bracelets made for a child, decorated with lines and dots. From Thebes, Roman period, after 30 BC

How well-preserved is this mummy?

A Christian woman from Sudan

A Christian woman from Sudan

Name
Unknown

Sex
Female

Age at death
Young adult (20–35 years)

Estimated stature
158 cm (5 feet 2 inches)

Pathological conditions
Tooth extraction or loss

Place of discovery
Site 3-J-23, et-Tereif, Fourth Cataract, Sudan

Date
Medieval Period, around AD 700 (calibrated radiocarbon dating)

Why was she discovered?
Where did this mummy come from?
How was she found?
How did she arrive in the Museum's collection?
What is special about this mummy?
What does the tattoo depict?

Old Nubian text naming Saint Michael, whose name is written in red ink on this page from the Liber Institutionis Michelis Archangeli. From Oasr Ibrim, about AD 800-1000

How unusual are her markings?
Why did she have a tattoo?
How does it feel seeing a tattoo on someone from so long ago?
Why do people get tattoos?
How would she have been tattooed?
Do you think the reasons for getting a tattoo have changed since ancient times?
Where did she live?

This simple wooden cross is a rare example of a religious object that was placed in a Christian grave in Nubia. From Tomb T3, Oasr Ibrim, medieval period

Who else was she buried with?
Why is this not a 'mummy'?
How do you build a picture of ancient Egyptian life?
How well-preserved is this mummy?
Why have some of her teeth been removed?

Loan objects

A number of objects borrowed for this exhibition will be recommended for protection under Part 6 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 (protection of cultural objects on loan).

For more information 

Human remains

The British Museum holds and cares for human remains from around the world. This important collection is a unique record of the varied ways different societies have conceived of death and disposed of the remains of the dead.

More about human remains 

Egyptological colloquium

Egyptian coffins have been the subject of much recent investigation, as newly discovered examples have come to light and many specimens in museum collections have been documented, published and discussed. Ancient Egyptian coffins: craft traditions and functionality will present analyses of the coffins’ iconography and inscriptions to explain their functional role as ‘structured compositions’.

More about the Annual Egyptological colloquium  


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