Animal Mummies Revealed
14 October 2016 – 26 February 2017
Exploring ancient Egyptian animal mummies that were prepared in their millions as votive offerings to the gods.
Closely affiliated with religious beliefs, animals enjoyed a prized status in Ancient Egyptian society. It was particularly popular for animal statues to be left at the temple as votive offerings to gods, but with bronze being expensive, animal mummies became extremely popular. It is believed that pre-mummified animals were even made available for the public to purchase for this purpose.
This exhibition features the mummified corpses of an array of creatures – including jackals, crocodiles, cats and birds – as well as taxidermy specimens showing them as they would have looked in life. One highlight is a reconstruction of a subterranean animal catacomb, featuring pots containing sacrificed offerings, audio of ancient rituals and a religious shrine.
The display also considers the British fascination with Egypt and how animal mummies have come to be a part of UK collections. Drawing on paintings, photographs and travel journals it documents the ways in which mummies were excavated and selected by archaeologists and museum experts, including how they were sometimes collected as curios and souvenirs.
New research from the ongoing project at the University Manchester reveals how contemporary technology has been able to shed new light on this rarely-studied subject.