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HUNTing for Ancient Egyptian Treasures

Posted on March 14, 2016 by in The OFI Blog

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SI Interns and fellows ready to embark on a tour at the National Museum of Natural History

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A mummified bull believed to be the living representation of the sun god Re

On March 10 2016 the Smithsonian interns and fellows joined the exclusive tour of the Eternal Life in Ancient Egypt exhibit at the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH). The exhibit explores the fascinating world of the Egyptian cosmology and presents the unique artifacts of the Smithsonian Collection including mummy masks dating from the 2nd millenium BC, a sarcophagus, the Tentkhonsu’s Coffin showcasing the burial rites, mummies of humans and cats, ibises, hawks, crocodiles… each of them providing an insight into Egyptian concepts of life and death. One of the most popular exhibits, a mummified head of a sacred bull, is especially notable not only for its outstanding historical value but also because of the story behind its acquisition.

Dr. Hunt talks about state-of-the-art techniques of facial reconstruction and CT scanning that allow scientists to better understand burial practice

Dr. Hunt talks about state-of-the-art techniques of facial reconstruction and CT scanning that allow scientists to better understand burial practice

The journey into the underworld was guided by NMNH Museum specialist Dr. David Hunt, a physical and forensic anthropologist and archaeologist specializing in mortuary analysis and the curation of skeletal remains. Dr. Hunt is the Assistant Collections Manager for the Smithsonian Institution’s Department of Anthropology and has been part of archaeological excavations in Mongolia, Italy, and multiple sites in the U.S.

The informal lecture delivered by Dr. Hunt sparked a lively discussion on topics in modern egyptology, DNA extraction techniques, ethical issues in museum management and many others. The circle of interested experts among SI interns engaged in such an enthusiastic ideas exchange that… who knows?.. it may lead to potential new academic collaborations. yTkGkaGTE

Thank you, Dr. Hunt, for an amazing tour!