Animal Mummies exhibition 'God's Gift' to historians

Mummified cat Credit: Manchester Museum

An exciting exhibition of animal mummies has opened in Manchester.

The mummified animals are from all over the country and show the science behind their preservation and examines how and why they were buried in their thousands in sophisticated catacombs all over Egypt

As far as the science shows, the mummies survived in spite of their preparation - having been created to carry a prayer rather than to be preserved indefinitely as is the case with human mummies.

The Gifts for the Gods exhibition explains will the background behind this religious practice in the context of life in ancient Egypt. It will explore the British fascination with Egypt, the discovery of animal mummies by British excavators, and how the mummies ended up in the UK, as well as taking a look at the history and future of their scientific study in Manchester.

The display will combine mummified specimens such as jackals, crocodiles, cats and birds with cultural artefacts such as stone sculpture and bronze statuettes, alongside 19th Century works of art and never-seen-before archives.

Exhibits carefully transported to Manchester Credit: Manchester Museum

The exhibition opens with a reconstruction of the ancient Egyptian landscape which shows Egypt not as the desert we now imagine, but as a land focussed on lush grassland near the River Nile.

A section on the scientific study of animal mummies highlights the importance of the University of Manchester's research in this area, and more broadly, how Britain has contributed to the subject.

Social media excitement over Mummy exhibition Credit: Manchester Museum

The Ancient Egyptian Animal Bio Bank Project, based at the University of Manchester aims to catalogue data from animal mummies in museum collections outside Egypt. Currently, this includes over 800 individual animal mummies from collections in Britain, Europe and the United States.

Manchester Museum, Oxford Rd / / 0161 275 2648 / October 8-April 17, 2016 / Free / @McrMuseum