Museum's Egyptian Mummy To Go Home

Mike Toner
Cox News Service
July 12, 2002

A century and a half after it was looted from an Egyptian tomb, a prized mummy acquired by an Atlanta museum is a step closer to going home.

Officials of the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University announced Tuesday they had agreed to return the mummy, because there was enough evidence to indicate it probably was the remains of the missing pharaoh Ramses I, founder of one of Egypt's most famous dynasties.

"If George Washington's body were found abroad, we would certainly hope that it would be sent back to the United States," said Peter Lacovara, curator of ancient art at the Carlos Museum.

Lacovara said the decision will not interfere with the museum's long-standing plans to exhibit the mummy from May 2003 to April 2004. It will be the centerpiece of a large Egyptian collection the museum purchased, with U.S. $2 million in public donations, from the Niagara Falls Museum in Canada. Other mummies from that acquisition are on exhibit now as part of the museum's permanent collection.

The museum did not match the mummy's DNA with others from the same dynasty, as it had hoped to do. But radiocarbon dating roughly places the mummy's origin in the time when Ramses I ruled Egypt, 1293 to 1291 B.C. That and other circumstantial evidence—the location of the tomb that was looted, the style in which the mummy was wrapped and embalmed, and its facial features—is sufficient to establish the mummy's likely identity, Lacovara said.

Egypt has become increasingly active in recovering its antiquities. Just this week, U.S. officials returned a stolen 4,700-year-old stone tablet to Cairo. And last month a Manhattan art dealer was sentenced to 33 months in prison for receiving stolen antiquities, including the mummified head of the pharaoh Amenhotep III.

Copyright Cox News Service

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