The Gods of Ancient Egypt - opening of permanent exhibition

The Archaeological Museum in Krakow is among the oldest institutions of the kind in Poland, and will be celebrating its 150th anniversary in the year 2000. The permanent exhibition being prepared for this occasion by the museum will present a collection of works of Egyptian art that are related to the cult of death. The collection comes from the excavations conducted by Tadeusz Smoleński in el-Gamhud early in the 20th century. A part of the exhibition are the gifts of the Autonomous Highlander Riflemen Brigade who fought in Egypt during the World War II. Apart from the sarcophaguses, the collection consists of coffins, mummies, shrouds, steles, and ushebti: altogether approximately 1500 objects dated from the Elder Kingdom (ca 2500 BC) to the Coptic Period (6th century AD).

The 2300-years-old sarcophagus with the mummy of a priestess of Isis, called Iset-Iri-Hetes is of exceptional value. The result of three years of research, thanks to meticulous analysis, detailed complex interdisciplinary tests conducted by a team of experts, a computer reconstruction of the face of the priestess was made, her genetic structure was identified, and the reasons of her death were defined. Iset-Iri-Hetes died because of blood loss related to breaking the leg and haemorrhage of popliteal artery. Apart from the presentation of computer tomographic images, the exhibition will involve presentations of a video film documenting the unprecedented process of unwrapping the mummy, its conservation, and re-wrapping in the 300-metres-long bandages.

The collection of the Archaeological Museum includes also an unrivalled collection of corn mummies. Those pseudo-mummies were filled with moist soil mixed with grains of barley. Moisture made barley sprout which symbolised the life-giving powers of Osiris and the rebirth of nature. This will be the first time that the four-metre-long so-called Senkowskis Papyrus, a deposit of the Jagiellonian Library, will be presented to the public. The painted mummy shrouds, that date back to the Roman Period, are also worth your attention, especially for their interesting iconography. A part of the exhibition will also be the unique (and largest in Poland) collection of Roman-Greek steles from Kom Abu Billu, and of Christian ones from @Ginari (Tafe) in Nubia.

10th June 2000 - opening of the exhibition; organiser: Archaeological Museum