Truth of cat mummy unearthed in Perth

Image- The West Australian

'For more than 50 years a tiny Egyptian mummy, no bigger than a hand, has sat in storage in the WA Museum — an ancient tightly wrapped mystery whose contents would remain sealed for ever by the mottled brown linen wound around it.

But thanks to modern technology some of the secrets of Perth’s “cat mummy” have finally been unravelled, to reveal what appears to be an elaborate 90-year-old scam.
Up until 30 years ago WA Museum staff believed they had a 2500-year-old mummified cat, donated by Perth man Reginald Wadham in 1930, and it was displayed as a sacred artefact like the type the ancient Egyptians used to offer up to the goddess of fertility, Bastet.
But in 1982 an X-ray revealed it was a fake, containing bones or wood either from ancient times or from the 1920s, when fraudsters capitalised on the frenzy whipped up by the discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb by selling forgeries.
Head of anthropology and archaeology at the WA Museum Moya Smith, who was assistant curator when the trickery was discovered, can clearly remember her devastation on learning the museum did not have a genuine mummified cat.
“I was really disappointed to see the X-ray,” she said. “I was pretty shocked. But it’s also quite exhilarating to know something one way or another.”
It is this curiosity that drove Dr Smith to delve further to find out what the “fake cat” really was — and how old — by doing a CT scan.'
Full article - The West Australian 


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