Victorian Egyptomania & Mummy Unwrapping

It is evening. The rain is pouring down outside. Hurry up the front steps, push open the heavy front door, and join the gathering of late Victorians interested in archeology and ancient Egypt that are inside. The guests have been brought together for opportunity to see artifacts, listen to a lecture on Egyptology, and finally to witness the unwrapping of a mummy.*

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The location is the Tudor style Bosworth Castle.** Dark wood, intricate detailing, and interesting artifacts abound. The rooms are filled with the light chatter of guests greeting friends and curiously examining artifacts. A pianist provides background music in the main hall. There are tables and mantels filled with artifacts and interesting objects to explore.

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In one room, the mummy rests on a table with its canopic jars. Tools are laid out, ready for the unwrapping which will occur later in the evening.

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Following the lecture and mummy unwrapping, guests are invited to ask questions and look more closely at the mummy and his amulets. It is concluded during the unwrapping that the mummy is indeed a prince, as suspected.***

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Guests are given souvenirs from the evening as they depart, including a note regarding the identity of the mummy and a scrap of his wrappings.

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*No mummies or artifacts were harmed in the course of this event. The evening included a discussion of Victorian archeology compared to modern methods and used a recreation of a mummy as well as reproduction tools.

**This event was created and hosted by the Archeology Department of Boston University. It was hosted in a building a BU actually called the Castle, though the Bosworth part was added for fun.

***Actually, the character of the mummy was decided specifically because the mummy of the prince does not actually exist, allowing for some creative liberties. In fact, the amulets were all placed just so within the wrappings to allow for their context to be explained during the unwrapping. The mummy was carefully crafted to look, and even smell, authentic while of course sticking to modern materials. It was quite impressive!

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About quinnmburgess

Quinn M. Burgess creates reproduction and costume historic clothing. Her inspiration has a strong foundation in history: historic dress, social history, and material history. With the addition of clothing construction knowledge, her passions converge in an imaginative world of creative history that she loves to share with others.
This entry was posted in 1890s, 19th Century, Social History and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Victorian Egyptomania & Mummy Unwrapping

  1. What a fabulously unique event!

  2. Lily says:

    Sounds like a fascinating and enjoyable evening! And it’s pretty hard to go wrong with Tudor revival architecture- thanks for all the photos!

  3. Raven says:

    Thanks for sharing pictures!! This sounded so fun. I hope they do it again next year (or really again at all, it doesn’t *have* to be at Halloween)…

  4. brocadegoddess says:

    My goodness, you do get to the most fascinating events! I’m quite envious but hope you thoroughly enjoyed yourself!

  5. Sea Breeze says:

    Wow! That sounds like something I would have enjoyed too. Fascinating that it was done true to the authentic, even for the smells and all. And I agree, this kind of event would work any time of the year, but surely suits the Halloween best. Hope they do it again!

  6. I would have LOVED that! What fun!

  7. Gina White says:

    Oh my giddy AUNT!!!!! What a totally and completely fantastic event!!! I am so happy that you were able to attend so that you could share the experience with us!! I am green with jealousy!!! I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to do something like this at my house for friends!! What a fun inspiration!!! Thank you for sharing Quinn!
    Blessings!
    g

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