Display: Egyptian mummies displayed in Chile
Published: Jul 31, 2009 11:21 AM Updated: May 25, 2011 12:54 PM

A local collection of mummies and artifacts from ancient Egypt are on display in Chile. The exhibit is at Santiago's Natural History Museum.

The collection started in the 19th century with smaller artifacts and private collectors adding mummies along with their sarcophaguses.

Museum official Bernadita Ojeda said, "All the mummies are about 2500 years old. They are from 300 to 400 BC, the late period in Egypt. All of them are nobles."

Museum director Claudio Gomez said the collection began at a time when objects of cultural heritage were rarely taken out of their home countries. One was bought by an ambassador and others donated by wealthy people in the 19th century.

The most striking piece in the exhibit is the mummy known as Panubis whose sarcophagus has unique wood carvings. Added to the collection in 1974, Bernadita Ojeda explained that Panubis gets its name from the Egyptian god of mummification and death.

Bernadita Ojeda said, "Anubis is the god of mummification and the dead. This sarcophagus is very important because it's in very good condition and its features make it one of a kind in the world. It has these markings in wood on the sides that hadn't been found before."

The collection was on display in the 1940s but sat in the museum's basement for decades. It's recent reappearance surprised Chileans.

Beyond the mummies, the exhibition has some 40 other artifacts, including an embalmed crocodile.

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