2016 - April : Dr. J. Campbell Price - New light under ancient wrappings
Studying Egyptian mummies at Manchester museum
Manchester Museum - part of the University of Manchester, UK - has been a centre of the study of Egyptian mummies since 1908, when Dr Margaret Murray conducted a multidisciplinary mummy unwrapping in front of an audience of hundreds.
In the last three years the Museum has CT-scanned all 20 of its human and around 30 of its animal mummies using the latest hospital CT and industrial micro-CT technology. This has allowed new insights and affected the interpretation of ancient Egyption culture within the Museum.
Campbell Price who is curator of the Manchester University Museum returned again to talk about this subject in his usual engaging and enthusiastic way. The CT scanning allowed to see below the linen wrappings without removing them - something that was carried out before the advances in technology. In fact the Victorians held 'mummy unwrapping parties' with some alacrity! Campbell focused on 3 particular mummies: Tasheriankh (known as the Salford Mummy), Perenbast and Asru.
The scans of Tasheriankh showed that the remains had been disturbed in antiquity but importantly revealed how mummification had taken place. The soft organs had been removed, separately wrapped and then replaced within the body. The brain had been removed (graphically described by Campbell!) and the skull then filled with resin.
Earlier X-rays of Perenbast's mummy revealed an object placed on the abdomen. This is likely to have been a religious token but with CT scanning it was possible to identify it more clearly and to have images for further study without having to remove it.
Asru remains were also scanned and her lineage established through inscriptions found.
For the future Campbell is looking at the mummified remains of animals that are extremely common, having been used by the Egyptians as part of their religious traditions. It seems that not all were as they appeared but were representations of the living creature... some were shown to contain only straw (an ibis for example) or containing bones of other creatures to fill the required shape (a jackal).
Campbell is a popular speaker with our membership and he can be followed on