The Nicholson Museum Mummy Project

The Nicholson Museum’s Mummy Project is an inter-disciplinary research project combining physical anthropology, Egyptology, digital imaging, scientific analyses and conservation to investigate four Egyptian mummies and one coffin held in the Nicholson Museum. The mummies and coffin are:

  • The cedar wood coffin for the lady Mer-Neith-it-es, with faded decoration;
  • Heavily disturbed human remains & artefacts within the Mer-Neith-it-es coffin;
  • The well-preserved mummy of an adult male found within the coffin for Padiashiakhet;
  • The well-preserved mummy of an adult male found within the coffin for Meruah;
  • The well-preserved mummy of a small boy called Horus.

The project investigates the coffin of Mer-Neith-it-es and the unstudied remains that it contains, including CT scanning the coffin and its contents. In addition, the project has CT scanned the mummies of Padiashiakhet, Meruah and Horus, building on x-ray and CT scanning conducted in 1998-1999 and 2009. This research will investigate aspects of biology, genetics, diet, disease, burial practice and processes of mummification. It will also help determine (for Mer-Neith-it-es) and clarify (for Padiashiakhet, Meruah & Horus) age at death and biological sex.

The images and research generated by this project will shape the presentation of a dedicated Mummy Room within the Chau Chak Wing Museum, scheduled to open in mid-2020. This exhibition will explore how science and archaeology work together to help us better understand the past.