Egyptian mummy returns to Stonyhurst

Jan Graffius, Curator at Stonyhurst (right) and  museum staff  unpacking the mummy

Jan Graffius, Curator at Stonyhurst (right) and museum staff unpacking the mummy

A 2,500 year old Egyptian mummy, discovered by a Jesuit missionary and archaeologist in 1850, has returned to Stonyhurst College in Lancashire.

Since the 1970s the remains of the unidentified young boy, aged five or six, have been cared for at Manchester Museum.

It has been part of the museum’s world famous collection of Egyptian artefacts and, over the last 30 years, a series of forensic science investigations including scans and x-rays have been carried out, to learn more about the boy’s health and living conditions.

Now Stonyhurst College has the necessary facilities in place for conservation of the mummy, so it has recently returned to its former home.

The mummy has created a lot of interest with the pupils.

The relic will now be part of a display in the Long Room, which is dedicated to the study of science, the natural world and human anthropology.

Jan Graffius, Curator at Stonyhurst College said: “Human remains are not like any other museum object and need to be treated with respect and dignity.

“We can learn a great deal about our own past from them, but we should never forget that they were once living human beings like ourselves and treat their remains accordingly. That is why the case containing the mummy has a cloth cover.

“It will be part of a new display that will clarify our need to 'collect' and display material, and we understand some people may be sensitive to seeing human remains.”

Very little is known about the boy’s background. No name is recorded, but investigations have indicated he was from a wealthy high status family, as gold leaf was discovered on his head.

Stonyhurst is a co-educational Catholic boarding and day school for pupils aged three to 18, faithful to the teachings of the Church and to the educational principles of the Society of Jesus.

Share this story