Votive animal mummies were produced in their millions by the ancient Egyptians as a means of communication between man on earth and the divine. The paucity of literary evidence from the time for the purpose and motivation behind this practice mean that the mummies themselves remain our best source of information. At the University of Manchester, cutting edge non-destructive scientific analysis is being used to help unravel the secrets of these ancient animal mummies. X-rays and CT scans help to tell us about the contents of the bundles, as well shedding light on how the mummies were manufactured.
The award-winning touring University of Manchester exhibition, ‘Gifts for the Gods: Animal mummies revealed’ tells the stories of some of these mummies from the time of their manufacture c.700BC to their scientific study today. Focusing on the role of the British in the discovery, excavation, collection, curation and study of these artefacts, researchers are able to reconstruct the post-excavation histories of these mummies, helping to reveal their stories thousands of years after they were made.