MUMMIES UNCOVERED

A superb exhibition was openned at the Press Conference by Director General Mr. László Baán of the Museum of Fine Arts.  In his inaugural, the Director General started to give the background of this extremely valuble display to the press and media representatives by talking about a similar exhibition that was opened a couple of years ago at the British Museum, titled: „Journey into the Mummy”. Whereas, in this project, from the ancient times of Egypt, a 3000 yrs. old of age, a  priest of the Karnaki Temple at Theba was found and examinated  with the similar tools as the  RER mummy here at Budapest.

Truely a very interesting display without any bounderes in age .

Below is the press handout, given out by the Director General Mr. László Baán of the Museum of Fine Arts

  The exhibition is open  from the 9th of  June — 22nd of  October, 2011. 

Museum of Fine Arts – Budapest

This  special openning will showcase four mummies preserved in the Museum of Fine Arts collection and the results of the scientific tests recently carried out on them. The exhibition will help familiarise visitors with the beliefs of the ancient Egyptians, the techniques of mummification, and the funeral art of the period, but it is thanks to the art of facial reconstruction that visitors will also be able to learn what a person who passed away over two thousand years ago actually looked like. The 3D film forming part of the exhibition provides a comprehensive picture of the kind of methods employed in the examination of the four nummies and of the results this research was able to achieve.
The Museum of Fine Arts launched a programme at the beginning of the year aímed at the comprehensive examination of the four mummies preserved in its Egyptian Collection. Thé objective of the Budapest Mummy Project was to “bring to life” four people who had lived in ancient Egypt, to reveal their past and to determine some of the biological features of the mummified individuals: their former features (facial reconstruction), possible illnesses, the time, cause and circumstances of their dcaths, as well as the process and techniquc used int he mummification of their bodies. During the series of tests natural sciencc and medical-diagnostic mcthods were applied in addition to Egyptology studies in order to reveal the secrcts of the mummified bodies to thc grcatest possible extent, such applications including computer tomography, biopsy and radio carbon dating tests, and even DNA research. In addition to the staff of the Museum of Fine Arts, radiologísts from the Radiological Clinic of Semmelweis University, anthropologists from the Departnaent of Anthropology of the Hungarian Natural History Museum, as well as other: rcsearchers linked to the areas of examination also participated in the project.
Until now experts knew little about the four mummies preserved int he museum’s colection. Their respective ages, histories, the methods employed in their mummification and causes or death were mostly shrouded in mystery. However, thanks to the recently carried out tests, a great deal of light has being shone upon these questions. Tests conducted upon the mumnmy known as RER revealed that shc was a female who died bctween the ages Gr 20 and 24 in the 3rd to 4th centuries BC, and it was concluded from the fairly shattered condition of her skeleton that her death was probably caused by a serious physical trauma. The researchers were able to place the Hortesnaht mummy into a precise historical and cultural context. The analysis of the coffin’s iconography and the CT examination of the mummification technique produced the same results: Hortesnaht’s mummy and coffin can be linked to the cemetery complexes connected to the town of Ahmim in the 3rd century BC. The CT scan conducted of the skull made it possiblce to restore ti life the former facial features of Hortesnaht, who passed away over two thousand years ago. The tests carried out on the body of the so-called Szombathely mummy allowed researchers not only to establish the age of the mummy – which on the basis of the radio carbon tests dates from the 2nd-3rd centuries BC – but also to ascertain that it belongs to a cartonnage coffin with a gold plated face already preserved in the collection. Up until now it had been assumed that the mummy had reached Hungary through Count László Almásy, but according to the most recent research it was purchased by Provost Adolf Kunc in Egypt (1896) and donated by him to the Premonstratensian Secondary School at Szombathely. In the case of the so-called unwrapped mummy the determination of its age was the greatest achievement of the researchers. On the basis of the carbon isotope test of a bone sample it can be stated that the mummy was prepared in the later Ptolemaic period int he 2nd-lst century BC. The chemical tests identified the dark material covering the body as plant resin, which also substantiates its dating.
The exhibition presents the four mummies linked to front aspects of Egyptian culture; demographics in ancient Egypt; illnesses and death, the technique of Egyptian mummification: preserving the body; preparation for the afterlife: the exterior decorations of Egyptian mummies, as well as ideals and portraits: the representation of personality in ancient Egyptian art. In this section of the show visitors will, (thanks to facial reconstruction) be able to see the true facial features of Hortesnaht, who lived in ancient Egypt over two thousand years ago. The examination methods applied in the research on mummies and their primary results will be presented within the four thematic units of the exhibition, while in a separate hall their results wiIl be shown in 3D form, brought alive for the visitor in virtual space.
The 3D film linked to the exhibition was made by Umbrella Post Production and Laboratory Ideas, and the short film that followed the series of tests in the Budapest Mummy Project was directed by Balázs Béla,  Prize winning Péter Szalay and cinematographed by Ernő Nagy. The film uses 3D technology  (with the use of shutter glasses) developed and implemented by Sharp Electronics, bringing visitors a unique true-to-life experience. The company made the nesessary equipment for the 3D film projection available to the museum in the form of sponsorship as the main technological partner of the exhibition.

Update  by: Aggie Reiter

One response to this post.

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