Tag Archives: Manchester Museum

‘Golden Mummies of Egypt’ – Manchester Museum’s First International Touring Exhibition

Glittering gold and mysterious mummies are among Ancient Egypt’s most enduring attractions – and the source of some of its most persistent cliches. Manchester Museum, part of The University of Manchester, houses a world-class collection of such Egyptological ‘treasures’. For the first time, and opening in Buffalo NY in February, the museum is launching an international touring exhibition Golden Mummies of Egypt to share some of its Egyptian highlights and to ask questions about how we interpret them.

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Golden Mummies of Egypt examines hopes and fears about the afterlife when Egypt was part of the Greek and Roman worlds (c. 300 BC-200 AD). Wealthy members of this multicultural society still hoped for their dead to be transformed by the expensive process of mummification. By being covered in gold, the deceased might imitate the eternal radiance of the gods themselves. Blending Egyptian, Roman and Greek imagery, the strikingly lifelike painted mummy portraits are among the most haunting images from the Ancient World. Examining the meanings of these objects for their original viewers, the exhibition reflects on the diverse influences of identity formation.

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Gilded mummy of a woman. C. 100 BC. From Hawara, Egypt. Acc. no. 2120. Photo: Julia Thorne (@tetisheri)

Exhibition Curator Dr Campbell Price said: ‘Using our superb collection from Graeco-Roman Egypt, the exhibition is a wonderful chance to question why the Greeks and Romans were so fascinated with the Egyptian way of death, and why we are still spellbound today.’

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Painted mummy portrait of a woman. C. 150 AD. From Hawara, Egypt. Acc. no 2266

The University of Manchester has led research on Egyptian mummies for over a century, having acquired thousands of objects from archaeological excavations. The exhibition’s innovative visualisation technology brings CT-scans to life, but also questions why we are fascinated by mummies, what they might tell us about ourselves and the colonial context of their acquisition?

The need for such alternative perspectives is also inspiring Manchester Museum’s £13.5 million transformation hello future due to open in 2021, supported using public funding by Arts Council England and supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) thanks to money raised by National Lottery players.

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Wooden openwork panel from a coffin, showing Isis and Osiris. C.100 AD. From Tuna el-Gebel, Egypt. Acc. no. 11254 Photo: Julia Thorne (@tetisheri)

Director of Manchester Museum Esme Ward said: ‘we are excited to be involved in this once in a lifetime opportunity to launch Golden Mummies of Egypt .The exhibition will bring together world class collections, University research and an exploration of both the current fascination and colonial context of Ancient Egypt. ’

In partnership with Nomad Exhibitions, the tour consists of over 100 key objects from the Manchester Museum collection, including eight mummies, as well as masks, coffins, jewellery and sculpture. Tim Pethick, CEO of Nomad, said: “Nomad Exhibitions are delighted to have the opportunity to work with the team at Manchester Museum to bring this outstanding collection to the world. It is particularly exciting for us to be able to create an Egyptian age exhibition that focuses on the rich, but often over-looked, Graeco-Roman period with its diverse multi-cultural society and cultures.”

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Terracotta figure of the Egyptian god Bes as a Greek soldier. C. 100 BC. From Egypt. Acc. no. 11244 Photo: Julia Thorne (@tetisheri)

The exhibition opens at the Buffalo Museum of Science, in New York State, on Saturday 8th February 2020. From there it will travel to North Carolina Museum of Art in the Autumn before continuing to other US venues. Golden Mummies of Egypt will return to Manchester Museum’s newly built Special Exhibition Hall in time for the centenary of the discovery of Tutankhamun’s Tomb in November 2022.

Presale tickets will be available at sciencebuff.org on December 2.

Follow #GoldenMummies #GoldenMummiesBuffalo for more

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‘Mummies, Magic and Medicine’: New book honouring Rosalie David

cover-2Prof Rosalie David OBE is the UK’s first female Professor in Egyptology, and former Keeper of Egyptology at Manchester Museum, whose pioneering work at the University of Manchester on Egyptian mummies, magic and medicine has been of international importance.

The volume, published by Manchester University Press, celebrates Professor David’s 70th birthday. It presents research by a number of leading experts in their fields: recent archaeological fieldwork, new research on Egyptian human remains and unpublished museum objects along with reassessments of ancient Egyptian texts concerned with healing and the study of technology through experimental archaeology. Papers try to answer some of Egyptology’s enduring questions – How did Tutankhamun die? How were the Pyramids built? How were mummies made? – along with less well-known puzzles.

Rather than address these areas separately, the volume adopts the so-called ‘Manchester method’ instigated by Rosalie David and attempts to integrate perspectives from both traditional Egyptology and scientific analytical techniques. Much of this research has never appeared in print before, particularly that resulting from the Manchester Egyptian Mummy Project, set up at the Manchester Museum in the 1970s. The resulting overview gives a good history of the discipline, illustrating how Egyptology has developed over the last 40 years, and how many of the same big questions still remain.

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Rosalie David at Manchester Museum in 1974

Dr Campbell Price, Curator of Egypt and Sudan at Manchester Museum and senior editor of the book, said: “As the Museum’s Keeper of Egyptology for 30 years, Rosalie David has inspired many people, old and young, and has brought the collection and her subject to the widest possible audience. This book celebrates her work and a proud Manchester Museum tradition.”

The book, published in June 2016, is aimed at researchers and students of archaeology or related disciplines with an interest in multidisciplinary approaches to understanding life and death in ancient Egypt and Sudan.

‘Mummies, Magic and Medicine in Ancient Egypt: Multidisciplinary Essays for Rosalie David’ C. Price, R. Forshaw, P. Nicholson and A. Chamberlain (eds) Manchester University Press 2016.

Details, including Table of Contents, can be found at the Manchester University Press website: http://www.manchesteruniversitypress.co.uk/9781784992439/

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‘From Mummies to Microchips: celebrating online Egyptology at Manchester’ – 23-24 July 2015

Online Diploma in EgyptologyTo mark the 10th Anniversary of the online Certificate in Egyptology, Egyptology Online @ Manchester is organising a two-day event at The University of Manchester on Thursday 23rd and Friday 24th July 2014. Speakers have all been associated with Egyptology Online, either as lecturers or examiners (or, in some cases, both). The two day event will end with a buffet reception. The event is open to anyone with an interest in Egyptology.

More information here

14:00 – 14:20 Registration (with tea and coffee)
14:20 – 15:00 Dr Joyce Tyldesley: Egyptology Online @ Manchester
15:00 – 15:40 Dr Glenn Godenho: Where Technology Meets Tradition: Digitising Hieroglyphic Inscriptions
15:40 – 16:00 Refreshments
16:00 – 17:00 Dr Campbell Price: Senenmut, Greatest of the Great
FRI 24th JULY
09:45-10:00 Registration
10:00 – 11.00 Prof. Rosalie David: Ancient Egyptian Women: biomedical perspectives on disease, diet, medical treatment and cosmetics
11.00 – 11.20 Refreshments
11:30 – 12:30 Dr Roland Enmarch: The Inscriptions from the Egyptian Alabaster Quarries of Hatnub
12:30 – 13.20 Buffet lunch
13:20 – 14:10 Dr Ashley Cooke: Title to be confirmed
14:10-15:00 Dr Steven Snape: May in Memphis
15.00 – 17.00 Poster session
17:00 – 17.30 Certificate/Diploma in Egyptology Awards Ceremony
17:30 – 19:00 Party

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A safe return from a voyage… to Venezuela!

When the priestess Sheri-ankh died in the early Ptolemaic Period (c. 300 BC), she may have hoped to make one final journey: a funeral procession, across the river Nile, to her tomb on the west bank. Perhaps she supposed part of her soul might travel with the spirits of her departed relatives in the sun god’s barque across the sky. It is doubtful, however, that she ever entertained the notion of making a trip to South America.

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Salford EA7 on display in Caracas

Spurious theories about Pharaonic trans-Atlantic voyages aside, it would have been neigh on impossible to make such a trip in 300 BC. In fact, Sheri-ankh’s knowledge of the world beyond Egypt would have been limited. In the age of the early Ptolemies, when Sheri-ankh lived, we may reasonably expect her to have known about places around the ancient Mediterranean. Her trip in 2011 AD would therefore have beyond her wildest imaginings.

Jenny and Salford EA7Yesterday, conservators checked up on the condition of Sheri-ankh’s mummy and her finely painted and gilded coffin. Both were given to the Manchester Museum by Salford Museum in 1979, and bear their original number: EA7 . They have just returned from a loan to Caracas in Venezuela. Accompanied by conservator Jenny Discombe, the crated mummy and coffin landed in Caracas via Frankfurt  in May 2011. Once it arrived, the crate had to be winched – using a crane – up the side of a 4-storey building to join other exhibits in the display.  All of this took place under Jenny’s watchful eye – in darkness, at 2am. Quite an adventure – for both courier and ancient priestess!

Needless to say, we are all pleased that Sheri-ankh has returned to the Museum safely after her journey to a far-off land.
 
A crane winches Sheri-ankh in Caracas

A crane winches Sheri-ankh in Caracas

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