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Home > teachers > Ancient Civilisations  > Show Me The Mummies... In UK Museums
 

Show Me The Mummies... In UK Museums

July 02 2004

Mummies have ended up in all sorts of places and we've found them for you. We've also got some great online mummy fun and facts for you to explore. Read on to find out more…

The British Museum have put together a fantastic online tour of a mummy as part of their Children's Compass website - Journey into the Mummy. Look inside the coffin case, under the bandages and even inside the body of a 3000-year old Egyptian mummy of a man called Nesperennub.


Here's an amazing view of Nesperennub's skull - all thanks to the latest technology.

Read to the bottom of the page to find out what he might have looked like when he was alive...

Courtesy of The British Museum.

Shows a 3D computer image of the head and shoulders of a skeleton, in bright orange against a black background.


Nesperennub was an Egyptian priest who lived in 800BC. The bandages around his body have never been unwrapped, so his mummy is in excellent condition.

Scientists have used hi-tech virtual reality to show you inside the beautifully decorated coffin.

Shows a photo of a case containing Nesperennub's mummy. The case is made of cartonnage - layers of linen covered with glue or plaster, then left to set hard. It is brightly painted.


This is the case Nesperennub's mummy was put into. How long do you think it took to do all those paintings?

Courtesy of The British Museum.


Have you ever heard of mummified crocodiles? Or mummified cats? Check out the Animal Mummies tour, again from Children's Compass.

Mummies started off life as living, breathing people. The Ancient Egyptians mummified or embalmed bodies to keep them as lifelike as possible. They believed that once someone had died, they would go on to the afterlife and would still need their body.

Find out more about mummification on The British Museum's Ancient Egypt website. There's even a step-by-step guide to embalming... a very gory process.


How much do you know about what you might find in a tomb?

Courtesy of Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery.

Shows a cartoon of a Egyptian mummy, in shades of yellow on a blue background..

Once a mummy was embalmed and sealed into a coffin, the coffin would be put into a tomb. You can take a look around a tomb and test your mummy know-how in this Egyptian Mummy website from Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery.

One of the reasons archaeologists know so much about the Ancient Egyptians is because they've found hieroglyphs, or symbols, decorating the coffins and walls of tombs. Check out the hieroglyphs game from the British Museum (yes, them again… this will be the last time we mention them in this trail, promise!).

Shows a cartoon image of a mummy wrapped in bandages, with glowing pink eyes, standing up and raising its arms in the air.


Can you work out what hieroglyphs mean, and wake up the Mummy?

Courtesy of the British Museum.


So - you've looked at mummies on the web, where do you find them in the real world?

In Scotland there are mummies at The Royal Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. If you're near Glasgow, you can visit mummies at The Burrell Collection or The Hunterian Museum.

In Northern Ireland the Ulster Museum has around 2000 Ancient Egyptian objects, including two mummy cases and a mummy called Takabuti.


This is the mummy of another Ancient Egyptian, called Takabuti.
Courtesy of Ulster Museum.

Shows a photo of mummy lying in its case, with the decorated lid of the case resting next to it, to the left.


If you live in the South West of England then City Museum and Art Gallery in Bristol, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter, Tutankhamun Experience in Dorchester and Torquay Museum all have mummies to see.

Also down south, the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, the Ure Museum in Reading and the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology in London are all homes to mummies of various shapes and sizes.

Still in England but further north there are mummies at Bolton Museum, Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery, Liverpool Museum, the Manchester Museum, the Hancock Museum in Newcastle and finally, the Leeds Museum Resource Centre.

Shows a photo of a clay model of a man's head. He has no hair and is looking straight at us.


The real person inside the mummy? Using their measurements of Nesperennub's skull, scientists have made a model of what they think he would have looked like.

Courtesy of The British Museum and © Dr Caroline Wilkinson, University of Manchester, 2004.


Remember when you're out and about looking at mummies, that they were people once. How do you feel about their bodies being on display in museums? Do you think it makes a difference that they're so old?

Use the Get In Touch page to let us know what you think, or to tell us about any more mummies you've come across so that we can add them to the trail.

Story by Anra Kennedy and Tessa Watkinson