The Civic Archaeological Museum of Bologna opens a new chapter in returning an important part of its Egyptian collection to the public.
Thanks to a fruitful scientific collaboration started in 2019 with the Institute for the Study of Mummies of Eurac Research in Bolzano, it was possible to realise the articulated project Mummies. The past unveiled aimed at the diagnostic investigation and conservation treatment of two rare human mummies kept in the museum’s storerooms for 40 years: the mummy with the painted shroud and the mummy of a child with three tunics, respectively belonging to the collections formed by the Bolognese artist Pelagio Palagi (1775-1860) and Federico Amici (1828-1907), who held important positions in Egypt on behalf of the Khédive Muhammad Tewfik Pasha (1852-1892).
The anthropological and palaeopathological study was conducted by the Institute for the Study of Mummies of Eurac Research in Bolzano in collaboration with the Radiology Department of the IRCCS Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria di Bologna – Policlinico di Sant’Orsola, where the computerised tomographic examination was carried out to reconstruct the biological profile of the two individuals.
After being entrusted to the care of the ‘La Venaria Reale’ Conservation and Restoration Centre, the mummy with its richly painted shroud, which belonged to a woman who lived in Roman times (1st-2nd century A.D.), is now back on permanent display in the museum’s Egyptian Section. Its return to the scientific community and public use is of exceptional historical interest: there are only two mummified human remains in the world still wrapped in intact shrouds of this type and from this era.
The conservation work involving the second, no less rare mummy of a child carefully wrapped in three tunics, dating back to Medieval Egypt (13th century AD), was instead carried out by the restorer of ancient textiles Irene Tomedi of the Accademia Tessile Europea in Bolzano, already known for the restoration of the Holy Shroud.
Both mummies were displayed in the exhibition Mummies. The Past Revealed, organised at the NOI Teck Park in Bolzano from 2 September to 20 October 2022, as part of the 10th World Congress on Mummy Studies (WMC 2022).
On the occasion of their return to Bologna, in March and April the Museo Civico Archeologico is promoting a series of conferences to share with a wider audience than specialists the results of the important interdisciplinary work conducted with numerous prestigious collaborators, in which it will be possible to retrace the story of two ancient Egyptians and their journey to the present day.
The initiative will be presented to the press on Friday 17 March 2023 at 12 noon in the Sala Risorgimento of the Museo Civico Archeologico, in Via dell’Archiginnasio 2, Bologna.