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Golden Mummies of Egypt presents new insights and a rich perspective on beliefs about the afterlife during an era when Egypt was part of the Greek and Roman worlds (c. 300 BCE–200 CE). This beautifully illustrated book, featuring photography by Julia Thorne, accompanies Manchester Museum’s first-ever international touring exhibition. Golden Mummies of Egypt is a visually spectacular exhibition that offers visitors unparalleled access to the museum’s outstanding collection of Egyptian and Sudanese objects – one of the largest in the UK.
The so-called ‘healing’ statues form a relatively small but well-studied category of monuments attested chiefly from between the 26th Dynasty and early Ptolemaic Period. They represent men of elite status, generally shown in a standing pose supporting a Horus cippus. Scholarly attention has tended to focus on the magico-medical texts of the statues, rather than the function and perception of the statues in context. The visual impact of the densely-inscribed statues, when viewed in temple spaces amidst other more traditional elite statue types, is likely to have been significant. Such a departure from the ‘norm’ is seen in New Kingdom chauves d’Hathor statues, where the peculiarity of the sculptural form was a means of attracting attention. ‘Appeal to the living’ texts on the healing statues make clear that the intended audience for the statues was among temple staff. Claims made in the statues’ inscriptions to ‘save everyone’ are part of an age-old rhetoric to persuade passers-by to offer to the deceased; in contrast to modern, egalitarian expectations about access to healthcare, those with physical and intellectual access to the statues are likely to have been restricted to a knowledgeable few, rather than a broader ‘public’ proposed by many commentators.
Combining approaches to ancient Egyptian religious expression, medical practice and the modern scientific study of human and material remains from Egypt and Sudan, this volume celebrates the multidisciplinary career of Prof Rosalie David OBE. The UK’s first female Professor in Egyptology, Rosalie David’s pioneering work at the University of Manchester on Egyptian mummies, magic and medicine has attracted international attention.
This volume presents research by a number of leading experts in their fields: recent archaeological fieldwork, new research on Egyptian human remains and unpublished museum objects along with reassessments of ancient Egyptian texts concerned with healing and the study of technology through experimental archaeology. Papers try to answer some of Egyptology’s biggest questions - How did Tutankhamun die? How were the Pyramids built? How were mummies made? – along with less well-known puzzles.
Rather than address these areas separately, the volume adopts the so-called ‘Manchester method’ instigated by Rosalie David and attempts to integrate perspectives from both traditional Egyptology and scientific analytical techniques. Much of this research has never appeared in print before, particularly that resulting from the Manchester Egyptian Mummy Project, set up in the 1970s. The resulting overview illustrates how Egyptology has developed over the last 40 years, and how many of the same big questions still remain.
This book will be of use to researchers and students of archaeology or related disciplines with an interest in multidisciplinary approaches to understanding life and death in ancient Egypt and Sudan.