New Leeds City Museum Opens.
And what an opening, especially for us Egyptian fans. A full 2 page spread heralded the instalation of Nesyamun, last of the Leeds mummies.
Below is the actual article. © David Marsh Yorkshire Post Newspapers.
He may have survived 2nd world war bombs after his death, but it seems that the life of Leeds Mummy Nesyamun was probably ended my a tiny insect.
Two other mummies were wiped out in the 1941 bombing of Leeds Museum - leaving the city without a permanant museum ever since - but Nesyamun escaped unscathed.
And the story behind his demise was revealed as a major operation got underway to relocate Nesyamun to the new £20m Leeds city Museum, where he became one of the star attractions when it opened on saturday September 13th.
mountain rescue equipment had to be called in to move the mummy from the Leeds Discovery Centre, where it had been undergoing restoration, to the museum.
In studying Nesyamun, curators have concluded that a simple sting from a small bee or other insect could have caused his death.
The ancient insects venom is thought to have caused an allergic reaction when it stung Nesyamun, killing him rapidly. His perfectly preserved face is contorted in a way which is consistent with a sudden, dramatic death, with the eyes bulging and - very rare for mummies - tongue protruding. Embalmers would always close the mouth - not to do so is an indication that they were unable to.
Also going on public display is a striking reconstruction of Nesyamun's head, which depicts him in a startling and very ifelike manner as he would have looked as a priest in Thebes 3,000 years ago.
It was produced by renowned medical artist Richard Neave, of manchester University, using information from a 360º - degree scan of the mummies head.
Please click for larger view.
Visitors to the museum will for the first time be able to see Nesyamun's face. His hands and feet will also be visible, with the rest of his body loosely covered by linen bandages. his ornate sarcophagus lid will also be in the climate controlled-case with him; they were covered in prayers for his safe passage into the afterlife, written in Egyptian hieroglyphs.
Please click for larger size.
The council's curator of archaeology, Katherine baxter, said;
"It is possibly quite controversial to display the mummy itself at a time when other museums are debating whether it is best to cover them up. We have though long and hard about this and we feel we learn far more about him as a person this way. our reconstructed tomb is towards the back of the gallery and is designed so that you have to make a conscious decision to go in and look at him. I think that's far more respectful than just putting him in a glass case - covered or otherwise - in the middle of a room."
Coun John Procter; Leeds City Council's executive member for leisure, said;
"This new display which includes for the first time the mummy himself and the fascinating reconstruction of the head, will tell us far more about his life and who he was than we knew before."
Nesyamun was brought to the city by local banker John Blayds, who bought the mummy in 1823 for the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society.
© David Marsh.