Exhibition reveals the secrets of ancient Egyptian animal mummies

Some of the animal mummies on display
Some of the animal mummies on display

An ancient Egyptian historian whose career was inspired by a visit to Kelvingrove Museum is curating its upcoming exhibition of animal mummies.

Former Douglas Academy head boy Dr Campbell Price (31), from Garvel Road in Milngavie, is now a specialist in ancient Egyptian history based at Manchester University, where he is curator of the Egypt and Sudan section.

Jackal animal mummy

Jackal animal mummy

He is thrilled to be bringing the ‘Gifts for Gods: Animal Mummies Revealed’ exhibition to the Kelvingrove Museum because this is where his interest in the subject was sparked - when he saw a mummy in a case during a visit there as a young boy.

He also borrowed a book from Milngavie Library called ‘The Mystery of the Mummies’ by Professor Rosalie David, former curator at Manchester Museum and well-known authority on mummy studies.

This exhibition is Manchester Museum’s first touring exhibition in around 25 years.

There will be over 60 animal mummies on display including cats, dogs, crocodiles, falcons, fish, jackals and even a shrew.

Dr Campbell Price with an animal mummy

Dr Campbell Price with an animal mummy

Dr Campbell said: “This is a real myth busting exhibition.

“Many people think that Egyptians mummified their pets but the animals were actually sacrifices to the Gods.

“They saw this as a way to get closer to the Gods - they would offer either the image of an animal for example a bronze statue, or a mummified one as they thought this would help them to achive an after-life.

“There were tens of millions of animal mummies and many were taken by tourists during the 1800s and early 1900s as souvenirs.

“They were a real symbol of ancient Egypt and talking point to impress friends.

“This exhibition answers questions such as what are they, why were they given, where were they buried and why did they become so popular as collectable items.

“There is also an interactive smell facility in the exhibition as people often ask what mummies would have smelled like.

“This will allow people to smell the incense they used, which masked the smell of a dead animal, pine resin, frankincense, beeswax and honey which act as preservatives and antibacterials as well as make mummies waterproof to stop them rotting.”

The exhibition is based on research carried out by the University of Manchester which will bring together highlights from Glasgow’s archaeological collection, displayed alongside rarely seen animal mummies from Manchester Museum.

It will also include cultural artefacts such as stone sculpture and bronze statuettes alongside 19th century art.