British Museum Ancient Lives New Discoveries

Jan Leeming

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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.

BRITISH MUSEUM - Ancient Lives, New Discoveries

Date: 6th September 2014

If you have any interest at all in Ancient Egypt and also mummification, then do make the effort to go to this exhibition which is on until the end of November.

Part of my weekend with my friends was the desire to go to this exhibition.  

It is superbly staged and incredibly interesting.  There are eight mummies - not of the rich and famous but of more or less ordinary people from ancient Egypt and Sudan whose bodies have been preserved, either naturally or by deliberate embalming.  

None of the mummies had been unwrapped and though the wrappings appear to be in good condition, the state of the skeletons gives away much about the health or otherwise of the people entombed within.  Using CT Scanning and Interactive technology you watch a screen which gradually 'unwraps' the mummy telling you their story with each turn of the screen.  For example there's a beautifully decorated sarcophagus containing the wrapped mummy of a high born woman and as the scanner pierces the layers we see the amulets and jewels placed at strategic parts of her body and kept in place by the layering of the mummy cloths.  We see another sarcophagus which has been very crudely enlarged to take the remains of the encumbent and another which is much too big for the small body of a temple singer.

I have always had a slight nervousness about viewing Mummies and tombs partly because I have felt that one is 'invading'  a personal space, I am a trifle superstitious anyway and also because I visited the Tomb of Tuthankhamun in the Valley of the Kings leaving my highy superstitious and much loved husband on the outside.  A few months later he defected!!!!!!  The Curse of Tut perhaps.

However with this exhibition I felt no violation of personal space- rather the opposite.  There was a sense of relief that these 'bodies' would be forever respected and would never become prey to tomb robbers or the vagaries of weather and time.

No photos because, obviously, one was not allowed to take them.

My friends complained at the high cost of exhibitions in London and I had to remind them that, apart from special exhibitions, one has free entry to the V & A and the British Museum inter alia, and had we ever been allowed into the Louvre in Paris or the Uffizi in Florence for free!

Mind you, I really do think there should be an entry charge for those from outside  the U.K. These wonderful institutions do not run on Air.

What do you think? Send your feedback to contact@jan-leeming.com.