domingo, 18 de diciembre de 2011

traslado de la momia de Nesyamun

By Helen Kane

Easy does it! Nesyamun on a specialist mountain rescue stretcher being moved out of storage to travel the two miles to the museum

Specialist mountain-rescue kit was called in yesterday to move a Yorkshire mummy into its new resting place at the Leeds City Museum in Millennium Square, where he is expected to be a star attraction.

Nesyamun – also known as The Leeds Mummy – was transported from his previous home in storage on Thursday September 4 to the much grander surroundings of the city’s new museum. This is due to open to the public on September 13 2008.

The display will reveal a fascinating history around the ancient Egyptian, who was a priest in Thebes before his second life as celebrity exhibit.

“The Leeds Mummy is one of the most outstanding exhibits in our incredible new museum,” said Cllr John Procter, the council’s executive member for leisure. “We are counting the days till it opens.”

The major operation to move the mummy over two miles to the new museum has also revealed startling new facts relating to his death, which was initially thought to have been caused by strangulation.

A combination of bulging eyes and in particular the protruding tongue in his perfectly preserved face at first led experts to believe that he had been strangled. Embalmers would ordinarily always close the mouth of a corpse. To not have done so suggests that they were unable to.

However, the fact that his hyoid bone is still intact – it supports the tongue and is commonly crushed when pressured – has largely ruled out the likelihood of strangulation.

Experts now believe that a single sting from a small bee or some other venomous insect could have ended his life rather than murder: his face is contorted in a way consistent with a sudden, dramatic death. The insect’s venom is thought to have caused an anaphylactic (allergic) reaction when it stung him, causing a rapid demise.

Visitors to the new museum will also be able to see what the unfortunate Nesyamun’s face looked like. A bust of his head, which shows him as he would have looked back home in Thebes in 1100 BC, will also go on display for the very first time.

Leeds City Council’s curator of archaeology, Katherine Baxter, said: “It is quite controversial to display the mummy himself at a time when other museums are debating whether it is best to cover them up. We have thought 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.”
As well as his face, Nesyamun’s hands and feet will also be visible, with the rest of his body loosely covered by linen bandages. His intricately painted sarcophagi will also be in the climate-controlled case with him. Each of them are covered in prayers for his safe passage to the afterlife written in Egyptian hieroglyphs.

“Nesyamun is already known – on the basis of his coffin cases – as one of the finest examples of a mummy in the UK,” added Cllr Proctor. “This new display, which includes for the first time the mummy himself and the fascinating reconstruction of his head, will tell us far more about his life and who he was than we knew before.”

All things considered, Nesyamun’s afterlife has been no less dramatic than his original one.

Having been bought to the city by local banker John Blayds (who purchased Nesyamun and two other mummies in 1823 for the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society) Nesyamun, as the most important of the three, was moved during the war to avoid air attacks in 1941.

The move proved to be a fortunate one – only a week later, both the old museum and the other two mummies were completely destroyed by bombs.

Leeds has been without a permanent museum ever since and the opening of the new building – housed in the former Civic Institute Grade II listed building in Millennium Square – is a much anticipated addition to the city.

Around £20 million has been spent on the museum which will feature four floors of exhibitions and a large central arena. Funding comprised 75% from the Heritage Lottery fund, with Leeds City Council and Yorkshire Forward being the other main funders.

A Quick lowdown on The Leeds Mummy

Although his teeth are worn down through stones and sand in bread he would have eaten, Nesyamun has no signs of tooth decay thanks to ancient Egypt’s sugar-free diet.
He was a priest at the temple of the Egyptian god Amun in Karnak in ancient Thebes.
Nesyamun is thought to have died in his mid-forties – this would be a decent life-span for an ancient Egyptian as they lived to a maximum age of around 50.
His name means “the one belonging to Amun”.
Scientific studies have found evidence of a variety of health problems – including arthritis, parasitic worms and an eye condition – in his remains.

A 3D bust of the mummy's head produced with a 360° scan will be on display next to the coffin and mummy

Leeds Museums & Galleries curator of archaeology Katherine Baxter installing the mummy in his case alongside the sarcophagi.

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