Gifts for the Gods: Animal Mummies Revealed

At the meeting today, we had a guided tour around the Gifts for the Gods temporary exhibition from Dr. Campbell Price, curator of Egypt and the Sudan at the University. The exhibition, which opened on Thursday 8th, explores Ancient Egyptian offerings of animal mummies to the gods, such as Anubis and Thoth, as well as the techniques used to identify the animals inside the mummies, such as CT Scans and 3D printings. The exhibition was intending to show how Ancient Egyptians thought about animals, which we may now think of as strange, but Campbell pointed out that in the UK, over £6 billion will be spent on pets in this year alone, which Ancient Egyptians might have seen as strange as we think of mummifying them today.

We liked how the exhibition challenged perceptions and busted myths about Ancient Egyptians being obsessed with cats. In actuality, the vast majority of animal mummies weren’t pets: they were farmed with the intent of being sacrificed and mummified to the gods. In addition, cats weren’t the only common animal that were sacrificed: crocodiles, falcons, ibises were commonly mummified: on occasion, some mummies were found to contain human bones.

We also like how the space was utilised: it featured a reconstructed animal mummy chamber which you could walk through. We liked Campbell decision to include a statue wrapped in linen, which was a common practice in Ancient Egypt, but Egyptologists often removed the wrappings of statues as well as mummies.

In summary, we were highly impressed by this exhibition and would recommend it to anyone who is curious about the role of mummies in Ancient Egypt.

Laura and Elliot

(Dr Campbell Price can be found on Twitter @EgyptMcr , and regularly blogs at https://egyptmanchester.wordpress.com/ The temporary exhibition, Gifts for the Gods: Animal Mummies Revealed, is open from 8 October 2015 – 17 April 2016)

IMG_0957

Campbell explaining the role of different gods in Ancient Egypt.

IMG_0945 Campbell debunking the myth of Egypt being only a dusty desert.

IMG_0954 A quote from a European Monk, 1883, above a selection of the most influential Egyptologists in 19th Century England.

IMG_0955 A cat mummy encased in a coffin: Izzy’s favourite object in the exhibition.

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