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kmt_sesh

The mummy census

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kmt_sesh

I brought up this question in the "Let's talk history" thread but think it might be useful as its own topic. I work as a docent in the ancient Egypt exhibits at the Field Museum and the Oriental Institute, both in Chicago. I interact extensively with the public and field countless questions about the collections and ancient Egypt in general. One question I often get but whose answer I can't provide with accuracy is, how many Egyptian mummies are around the world today?

One problem is, although most any museum with an Egyptian exhibit will have a helpful website, many museums don't publicly disclose how many mummies they have in their collections. As far as I'm aware, both museums with which I work don't tend to release these figures, even though I know the number just because I've worked at them a long time.

So I'm bringing this to the public forum and am looking for help. Are you familiar with your local museum? Does it have an Egyptian collection, and does it have mummies? I know what we come up with will never be precise, but that's okay. An approximation is useful.

I know at the Field Museum we have forty Egyptian mummies, 21 of which are usually displayed. The Oriental Institute displays four mummies and has two or three more in storage. The Art Institute in Chicago has a small Egyptian collection including two mummies.

Th British Museum actually does disclose its mummy collection and you can peruse it online. The BM has the largest collection of Egyptian antiquities outside of Egypt and has 80 Egyptian mummies and 40 Sudanese mummies.

I learned from the "Let's Ta;l History" thread that the Toledo Museum of Art has two mummies.

So this is something I'd really be interested in learning more about. How many mummies does your museum have?  It doesn't really matter to me if they're on display or in storage—both categories count. I'm looking for Egyptian mummies only, although Sudanese (ancient Nubian) may be included because they learned the practice from Egypt and the tradition was essentially the same. For this census I would include prehistoric Nile Valley mummies as well, even though it was the environment that preserved their bodies (both the Field and the OI have prehistoric mummies, one each, about 5,500 years old).

Let me know if you have any questions. We can use this thread to build a census, however informal it may be (I'll be building a spreadsheet because, yes, I am that much of a history geek). And along the way, if the mood strikes, we can chat about mummies. Because mummies are cool.

mummies1.jpg

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kmt_sesh

One museum I was curious about is the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), in Canada. It has a large Egyptian collection that I've always wanted to see. I can't find a precise number for them (which is usually the case, in my experience), but they must have at least six mummies. Quite possibly more.

By the way, I wouldn't bother trying to count miscellaneous parts. For example, at the Field we display several hands and a pair of feet, and have more mummified body parts in storage. I'd prefer to count only intact or mostly intact mummies for this census. It would count if a mummy is now only a skeleton, because that has been the fate of many mummies.

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glorybebe

I only know of the one I mentioned in the other thread.  I really, really want to see a huge exhibit.  

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kmt_sesh
6 minutes ago, glorybebe said:

I only know of the one I mentioned in the other thread.  I really, really want to see a huge exhibit.  

Is it this guy, starting at about 0:36?

The Louvre has one of Europe's largest collections of Egyptian antiquities. I'm spitballing here but I want to say around 30,000 pieces. I can fact-check that later. In any case, I'd be willing to bet they have a number of mummies. Perhaps most are in their storage vaults.

The guy who shot this video did a nice job with his camera. Wow, the Louvre has some spectacular coffins! But as is the case with any large Egyptian collection, they look to have more coffins than mummies on display. A lot of Egyptian coffins you see in museums are now empty. I know at the Field we display numerous closed coffins with mummies inside them, and the label copy clearly states if a mummy is in there. I'm not sure what all of the other museums do. There are other situations like one of our New Kingdom coffins, where we display the outer coffin but the inner coffin and mummy are in storage.

Thanks for posting, glorybee.

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glorybebe
14 minutes ago, kmt_sesh said:

Is it this guy, starting at about 0:36?

The Louvre has one of Europe's largest collections of Egyptian antiquities. I'm spitballing here but I want to say around 30,000 pieces. I can fact-check that later. In any case, I'd be willing to bet they have a number of mummies. Perhaps most are in their storage vaults.

The guy who shot this video did a nice job with his camera. Wow, the Louvre has some spectacular coffins! But as is the case with any large Egyptian collection, they look to have more coffins than mummies on display. A lot of Egyptian coffins you see in museums are now empty. I know at the Field we display numerous closed coffins with mummies inside them, and the label copy clearly states if a mummy is in there. I'm not sure what all of the other museums do. There are other situations like one of our New Kingdom coffins, where we display the outer coffin but the inner coffin and mummy are in storage.

Thanks for posting, glorybee.

No the one I saw was a child at UBC in Vancouver, BC

FB_IMG_1490586266585.jpg

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kmt_sesh

I don't know the UBC museum and couldn't find out much about its collection. But that's exactly the sort of thing I'm looking for.

Do you remember any details about this child mummy? Any information you can recall from label copy?

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Hanslune

Fewer were lost in WWII than I thought

http://www.dw.com/en/the-lost-mummies-of-mannheim-meet-the-public/a-2799960

https://books.google.com/books?id=LAdyuWkUHM4C&pg=PA13&lpg=PA13&dq=mummies+destroyed+in+wwII&source=bl&ots=QC_s4Ql-AY&sig=DC3px1l6yJDvE_3t-oNM1AicN-c&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiSvP-drvjSAhVBw2MKHc2zDZAQ6AEIVjAJ#v=onepage&q=mummies destroyed in wwII&f=false

To answer Kmt_Sesh's question from the other thread. Mummies in private collections. I based that on an extensive reading of 19th century material. It would seem many noble houses had a mummy or three in that period of time it was quite the thing to have, along with a curio shelf, piano, orange tree in the hot house and plenty of well-bound books.

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glorybebe
1 hour ago, kmt_sesh said:

I don't know the UBC museum and couldn't find out much about its collection. But that's exactly the sort of thing I'm looking for.

Do you remember any details about this child mummy? Any information you can recall from label copy?

I found the mummy.  It says he is at the Museum of Vancouver http://www.museumofvancouver.ca/collections/object/mummified-boy-panechates not UBC Museum of Anthropology.  My other pictures match his face.  I guess 5 years messes with the memory, sorry. But, I found Panechates for you.

FB_IMG_1490677799860.jpg

FB_IMG_1490677791076.jpg

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MDagger
12 hours ago, kmt_sesh said:

One museum I was curious about is the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), in Canada. It has a large Egyptian collection that I've always wanted to see. I can't find a precise number for them (which is usually the case, in my experience), but they must have at least six mummies. Quite possibly more.

By the way, I wouldn't bother trying to count miscellaneous parts. For example, at the Field we display several hands and a pair of feet, and have more mummified body parts in storage. I'd prefer to count only intact or mostly intact mummies for this census. It would count if a mummy is now only a skeleton, because that has been the fate of many mummies.

Even before seeing this I did a quick search online to try to find out how many mummies are located (residing) at the ROM which can be considered my local museum.  Did not find a number but did notice two named ones:

Djedmaatesankh (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Djedmaatesankh) and Nefret-Mut (http://www.ctvnews.ca/sci-tech/mysterious-rom-mummy-was-a-singer-named-nefret-mut-1.2076943)

Also two infants that were on display are now in storage : https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2011/01/20/royal_ontario_museums_secret_mummy_babies_revealed.html

I remember visiting the ROM (way back when and more recently) and being at awe by the Egyptian exhibit and the mummies.  Also by the King Tut exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario in 1979.  Anyway I will continue searching as now I am curious about this myself.

 

MDagger

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Irna
13 hours ago, kmt_sesh said:

The Louvre has one of Europe's largest collections of Egyptian antiquities. I'm spitballing here but I want to say around 30,000 pieces. I can fact-check that later. In any case, I'd be willing to bet they have a number of mummies. Perhaps most are in their storage vaults.

The guy who shot this video did a nice job with his camera. Wow, the Louvre has some spectacular coffins! But as is the case with any large Egyptian collection, they look to have more coffins than mummies on display.

The Louvre is said to have 78,000 objects in its Egyptian collection, of which 6000 are visible to the visitors. But as far as I know only one mummy is exposed, this one: http://www.louvre.fr/oeuvre-notices/momie-d-homme , and I couldn't find any information the other ones...

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Herr Falukorv

I did a little research and I found out that there are 20 complete mumies in sweden on various museums
Unfortunately I couldnt find much info about who these mumies were or where they are except one..

Neswaiu

Neswaiu lived in the third century BC at the temple of the god Montu in Thebes modern-day Luxor.
His remains were gifted to the Medelhavsmuseet in 1928 when it first opened.

"We know that his mother's name was Takerheb and we also know that he belonged to the upper classes of Egyptian society
because he could afford an expensive mummification. Not everybody could," said Sofia Häggman.



mummy.jpg

neswaiu.jpg



29499302910_aa3ecc72af_b.jpg

Read more here.. very interesting.. They have scanned him in 3D
http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-26664927

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Parsec

In Italy there are quite a few Egyptian museums (the most famous and rich is of course the Torino one), but the number of mummies they have as you said is difficult to ascertain. 

 

So, let's start with the Archaeological Museum of Bologna, where we can find two mummies:

Usai's mummy and "the black mummy", also known as "Winckelmann's black mummy" because he was the first who studied it and used it as an example of Egyptian physiognomy.

The colour is caused by a layer of resin on top of the bandages. 

Sorry, I can't find English web pages, you'll have to do with a picture (or two)

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=mummia+nera+bologna

(I don't know why I can't attach the picture, so I'll leave you with the google search, let me know if it works). 

 

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oldrover

Here we have one human mummy in our city museum, Swansea Museum. I've always known him as priest named Hor. 

http://www.swanseamuseum.co.uk/our-collection/egyptian-artefacts/meet-the-mummy

We also have a more extensive publicly view able collection at out universities Egyptology Center, despite having attended that university fairly recently I haven't visited the collection for about 20 years, but I don't recall another human mummy there, though I do believe it contains a cat and a crocodile. 

 http://www.egypt.swan.ac.uk/

I was interested to find out looking up that link that a lot of the stuff there was from the collection of Henry Wellcome. My best friend's wife studied Egyptology there part time, and is/was a volunteer at the center, so I'll ask her if there are any more.

As an aside, and this is true, back in the 80's an arm was found in the garden of a house near to to where I was living at the time, this obviously sparked a murder investigation, which was wound down when the arm was identified as belonging to an Egyptian mummy. I have no idea how they determined that in what I recall as a relatively short period of time. 

Edited by oldrover

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Kenemet

There is one (possibly two) at the Dallas Museum of Art.  I'm not sure how many are held at Petrie in London or how many Cairo has.  The Rosicrucian museum in San Jose has at least one.

Edited by Kenemet

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Khaemwaset

Congratulations, Kmt sesh, on the big mummy exhibit in NY at the AMNH...I understand that you (Field Museum, that is) contributed significantly.  :D

Here's a few (mostly only displayed) mummies:

Massachusetts

Boston: The Museum of Fine Arts displays numerous mummies from its collection, not sure of current assembly...maybe somebody from Boston can check this out.  Also, The Ether Dome of the Massachusetts General Hospital has one Egyptian mummy named Padiherschef.   Pittsfield: The Berkshire Museum:  one Ptolemaic mummy.  Salem: The Peabody-Essex Museum: has one Egyptian mummy.  Worcester Art Museum: one Ptolemaic mummy.  College of the Holy Cross: one Egyptian mummy on display.

New York

Ithaca: The Anthropology Collection of Cornell University: two mummies, first: a male Egyptian “Penpi”, late 20’s, @817 – 730 BC; second: a Peruvian female, late 30’s, @1400 CE.   New York City: The Metropolitan Museum in Manhattan: three mummies on display last time I was there: one from the Roman period, one from the Late Period, the third named Kharushere from the Twenty-second Dynasty.  The Brooklyn Museum:  only two mummies on display from its collection last time I visited. 

Pennsylvania

Philadelphia: The Academy of Natural Sciences displays two mummies (one male, one female) inside a reconstruction of an Egyptian tomb located in African Hall on the second floor. The male mummy an Egyptian priest, @ 800 BC. The female mummy Ptolemaic.  The Mütter Museum at the College of Physicians: displays a number of medical mummies (many replicas) and skeletons for use by doctors-in-training, though the museum is open to the public.  Reading: The Reading Public Museum displays one female Egyptian mummy, @550 - 250 B.C.

Vermont

Burlington: The Fleming Museum on the campus of the University of Vermont: one female Egyptian mummy, @600 BC.

Edited by Khaemwaset

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Hanslune

It all sounds like it would be an excellent project for a graduate student with a MLS to investigate. Odd that no one knows how many of an important anthropological item are and where and in what condition.

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kmt_sesh

Thanks so much for your informative replies, everyone. ;)

I haven't had much time at all day so I intend to come back and read everything much more carefully. And by all means, keep contributing! After all, mummies are people too, but they can't stand and be counted by themselves. We have to help them.

egyptian-scribes-granger.jpg

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Gingitsune

For Le Louvre, I'm looking through my photos and there really is little mummies. There's a mummy ram, some crocodiles and a lot of cats.
 

louvre-momies-chats.jpg

The only human seems to be this one:

cc6d76a872aaef025b2db4b60950e6bf.jpg

As you said, maybe they have others less impressive in the réserves.

In this article, they say there is about 40 Copt mummies in various museum and private collection in France. I'm not sure how much non-Copt mummies, or if they are all humans. 

Edited by Gingitsune
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Khaemwaset

The Manchester Museum, University of Manchester UK, has seventeen human Egyptian mummies, plus assorted spare parts, and some 31 other animal mummies.  The human mummies span from @1900 BC - 4thC CE.  Mostly from excavations by Flinders Petrie, EES, and Professor Garstang.

4898337e702fe55d7fe163f11e017164.jpg

Edited by Khaemwaset

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Khaemwaset

Sorry for this double posting;  I'll be away for a while and wanted to get this in before I go:

Philadelphia, Univ. of Pennsylvania, Penn Museum:  displays 8 human Egyptian mummies (44 human Egyptian mummies in collection).  On display:

1.       Roman period, child named Tanwa, daughter of Hermidoros, E16234

2.       Greco-Roman period @40 BC – 300 CE, male child, 97-121-114A

3.       Possibly from Akhmim, adult male, named Nespekashuti, singing master of Min, son of singing master of Min, Nespeneb…., E883A

4.       Ptolemaic 33rd D, @305 -30 BC, from Denderah, adult male aged @50, named Djed-hapi son of Petosire, E3413A

5.       Late period, 30th D, @383 -343 BC, adult male named Hapimen, his dog is at his feet

6.       Unidentified adult male, 21-46-8a, PUM II

7.       Predynastic period, @5000 – 3000 BC, from Naqada, E16228

 (8)  New Kingdom 19th D, @1292 – 1190 BC, from Abydos, adult male named Pinahsi, E16221, also AES 3065

 

 

https://www.penn.museum/collections/search.php?term=mummy&submit_term=Submit+Query&object_name[]=mummy&material[]=human remains&page=1

Edited by Khaemwaset

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kmt_sesh
22 hours ago, Gingitsune said:

For Le Louvre, I'm looking through my photos and there really is little mummies. There's a mummy ram, some crocodiles and a lot of cats.
 

louvre-momies-chats.jpg

The only human seems to be this one:

cc6d76a872aaef025b2db4b60950e6bf.jpg

As you said, maybe they have others less impressive in the réserves.

In this article, they say there is about 40 Copt mummies in various museum and private collection in France. I'm not sure how much non-Copt mummies, or if they are all humans. 

I did a little reading on the Louvre mummy, mostly out of curiosity but also because it's...well...just look at it! Now that's a cool mummy. It's of a man from the Ptolemaic Period, which you would expect by the wrappings and especially the cartonnage adornments down his body. But it's not too often you see a mummy with such intricate, well-preserved bandaging. I wish I could visit him. Evidently his name is sloppily written and could be read a couple of different ways.

Those are great photos, by the way. I love the kitty mummies too. I won't be including animal mummies in my census but we have a lot on display at the Field, and I enjoy showing them off to visitors. A woman once said they look like burritos, which is my favorite animal-mummy comment.

Thanks for pitching in!

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kmt_sesh
12 hours ago, Khaemwaset said:

The Manchester Museum, University of Manchester UK, has seventeen human Egyptian mummies, plus assorted spare parts, and some 31 other animal mummies.  The human mummies span from @1900 BC - 4thC CE.  Mostly from excavations by Flinders Petrie, EES, and Professor Garstang.

<<Snip>>

 

9 hours ago, Khaemwaset said:

Sorry for this double posting;  I'll be away for a while and wanted to get this in before I go:

Philadelphia, Univ. of Pennsylvania, Penn Museum:  displays 8 human Egyptian mummies (44 human Egyptian mummies in collection).  On display:

1.     <<Snip>>

 

Very helpful. I thank you for this. I'll be building a database in Excel as I learn more about this.

I'm a little surprised that Manchester has only seventeen human mummies. They've done more advanced paleopathological research on Egyptian mummies than anyone, including Egypt. Their research is fantastic. I imagine they borrow a lot of mummies from the BM for what they do.

I also didn't know Pennsylvania had that many mummies. We have forty, so they have us beat. That's something my colleagues at the Field Museum will be interested in learning. The University of Pennsylvania is one of the world-leading centers for Egyptology, and none other than Zahi Hawass got his undergrad there (as I recall). Maybe that accounts for it. But arguably an even more important center is the University of Chicago, and as large as their collection is, they don't have a lot of mummies.

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Oniomancer

Checking something else to confirm and turned up this list instead: http://www.mummytombs.com/main.museums.html

Some of the entries will no doubt need to be confirmed.

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MDagger

As an aside,

I had forgotten about this but Ramses I mummy resided unidentified for 150 years in the Niagara Falls Museum: http://www.wellandtribune.ca/2012/04/20/niagaras-most-famous-mummy

In the late 1990's the museum and its contents were sold.  The Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University bought the ancient Egyptian artifacts including Ramses I and 3(?) other mummies.  When it was finally identified in Atlanta it was returned to Egypt.  I would assume that museum still has a mummy collection.

MDagger

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kmt_sesh
11 hours ago, MDagger said:

As an aside,

I had forgotten about this but Ramses I mummy resided unidentified for 150 years in the Niagara Falls Museum: http://www.wellandtribune.ca/2012/04/20/niagaras-most-famous-mummy

In the late 1990's the museum and its contents were sold.  The Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University bought the ancient Egyptian artifacts including Ramses I and 3(?) other mummies.  When it was finally identified in Atlanta it was returned to Egypt.  I would assume that museum still has a mummy collection.

MDagger

And to this day "Ramesses I" resides in a glass case in the Luxor Museum, for all to see. I use quotes around his name because not everyone agrees the mummy is his, but it's quite plausible. When the plane landed in Luxor in around 2003, the mummy was given full military honors. "The king is dead. Long live the king!"

I've always wanted to see the Egyptian collection at the Carlos Museum. I believe they have several mummies (minus the putative Ramesses I) but I'm not sure how many. But they have the oldest Egyptian mummy in the Western Hemisphere, a man dating back to the Old Kingdom. The conservators there restored him.

The man's name was Ooga-Booga. That's not true. I don't think his name is known, but that mummy is well over 4,000 years old. How cool is that?

Editing to add a link to an interesting article I just found on Ooga-Booga, or whatever his name may have been:

http://www.emory.edu/EMORY_REPORT/stories/2011/08/back_to_school_carlos_oldest_egyptian_mummy.html

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