Mummy Swapping

Researchers at the Nicholson Museum at the University of Sydney have unveiled a case of mummy swapping involving two mummies.

 DNA analysis of a mummy inside a coffin of a woman called Meruah, has revealed that the mummy is in fact a man.  Radiocarbon dating and tissue analysis have now been carried out on the mummy.  One other mummy has been tested using textile samples to determine dating analysis.

A well preserved mummy head, donated to the university by Sir Charles Nicholson who visited Egypt in the mid-19th century, has also been tested for dating and is now believed to come from the Ptolemaic Period.

Another mummy which lies in a coffin belonging to the priest Padiashaikhet who died about 700BC, has been found instead to actually be 800 years younger than he should be -  the mummy dates to the Roman Period.

This important research highlights the very common practice in the 19th century of dealers making up 'complete sets' of coffins with a mummy inside in order to satisfy the large demand for purchase.  Mix-matched coffins and bodies were often put together to get a higher price.

Click here to see a link to The Sydney Morning Herald, which has a video and pictures.


  1. Of course there is the FAMOUS George Gliddon gaffe in Boston in 1850 when the advertised "princess/priestess/daughter of a priest" turned out to have a wrapped erect penis. It was quite the hoo-hah, and I tell the full story in my book Mummies in Nineteenth Century America; Ancient Egyptians as Artifacts (McFarland, 2009, get it on Amazon!)


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