Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Canadian Mummy turns out to be King Ramses I of ancient Egypt .... Interesting story for my Cubs

The disappearance of Ramses I has been a mystery for centuries
Bill Jamieson figured he knew what he was getting when he bought the collection from a kitschy museum in Niagara Falls, Ont., after the owners decided to retire.
A humpback whale skeleton. Stuffed animals. Some beat-up Egyptian artifacts. The Toronto collector of curiosities could only laugh when he was told that one of his mummies, which he quickly sold to a U.S. museum to finance the Niagara Falls purchase, has been identified as the fabled Egyptian pharaoh Rameses I. The
mummy was eventually sent back to Egypt.
"I'm the guy who sold Rameses I. That's funny," Mr. Jamieson said.

 The Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University in Atlanta after much study and investigation returned the  mummified corpse, (which was taken by tomb robbers and in 1861 wound up at the Niagara Falls Museum) to it's home in Egypt. They had speculated, scientifically tested and debated that the mummy was Rameses I, who took the throne in 1293 BC, and ruled for just two years, but became the patriarch of Egypt's 19th dynasty.
Officials at Emory promised to return the mummy to Cairo if royal lineage was established. Peter Lacovara, the museum's curator of Ancient Egyptian, Nubian and Near Eastern art, said Egyptian officials were satisfied that the mummy definitely had blue blood.
"There's not one single piece of  absolute evidence, but just the aggregate weight of evidence, timeline and history seems to point in that direction," he said.
Mummification techniques are consistent with the era. The body was wrapped with its arms crossed -- a sign of royalty. X-ray comparison of the skull and that of Rameses I's son establishes a familial resemblance. Radiocarbon dating places it to Rameses I's rule. Then there is the evidence surrounding the looting of the Deir el-Bahri royal cache of mummies -- the cache from which Rameses I vanished.
An investigator discovered that the Niagara Falls mummy was bought from dealers who were selling items from that robbery.
"That's the sort of smoking gun that historically associates it with the cache of royal mummies," Dr. Lacovara said.
That is also where the mummy's Canadian connection begins as detailed in a recent article in Toronto Life. A nineteenth century Canadian doctor named James Douglas was a customer of the grave robbers linked to the Deir el-Bahri cache. His son shared his interest in Egypt and picked up the mummy through a middle man working for the grave robbers in 1860.
The mummy  eventually ended up with the son of Thomas Barnett, founder of the Niagara Falls Museum circa 1827, described as Canada's oldest museum. Bankruptcy sent the mummy to the United States for a period, but it  crossed the border again, back to  Niagara Falls in 1958. It was already the world's most well travelled mummy.
Gayle Gibson, president of the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities and a teacher at the Royal Ontario Museum, has been visiting the mummy since the early 1980s.
She recognized him as royalty. The facial structure and the mummification style made her suspect it was someone in the Rameses line.
Mr. Jamieson, who fancies himself an amateur anthropologist and whose vast collection includes shrunken heads and stuffed tigers, had also been a frequent visitor to the Niagara Falls Museum. He described it as one of the last remaining "cabinet of curiosities."
He had become friendly with the owner, Jacob Sherman, and had asked over the years whether he wanted to trade curiosities. Mr. Sherman always declined. But during a 1998 visit, Mr. Jamieson  decided to try and buy the museum. When he inquired, he recalled that Mr. Sherman replied: 'Make me an offer'.
The building, itself, was too expensive, but he could afford the contents. He said he cannot disclose the price. But to come up with the money, Mr. Jamieson knew he had to sell the museum's Egyptian mummies and coffins.
"Someone said they looked like they went over the Falls - they were kind of beat up," Mr. Jamieson said. "Nobody really looked at  the mummy like it was an artifact and maybe it was important. It was more of a curiosity that would sell tickets."
He first approached the ROM, ( The Royal Ontario Museum) but the $2-million price tag was too steep for them.
Emory University snapped it up in 1999 and dedicated researchers to study and restore the new acquisition.
Ms. Gibson was thrilled to learn her suspicions were correct. But more important, Rameses I will be going home to Cairo once an exhibit in Atlanta ends in 2004.
"I think it will be really delightful that he will be back with his family," Ms. Gibson said. "I really do believe that their spirits are there."
Mr. Jamieson talks with some sadness about selling the Niagara Falls Museum mummies, but quickly brightens.
"It's kind of fun knowing you sold Rameses I and somehow took part in helping him get home," he said. "When I'm old and in Egypt with my grandchildren I'll be able to say 'Hey, I helped get him here.' The whole thing's kind of strange."
 To the present day, Ramses is proudly displayed in the Cairo Museum. It was a long journey for Ramses, but fate is a strange thing. Somehow, it arranges for everything to fall into place. And Ramses I is home again.

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