Wednesday 17 September 2014

Political unrest in Egypt means mummy must stay a little longer

Published 27/08/2014 | 02:30

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The Egyptian decorated wooden coffin, dating 625 to 600BC, from University College Cork's collection of artefacts from Egypt. Photo: Provision

A DISPUTED 2,300-year-old Egyptian mummy will remain in an Irish university while political turmoil grips Egypt.

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Talks have taken place between University College Cork (UCC) and officials of the Egyptian Embassy in Dublin over the fate of the mummy and sarcophagus, which arrived at the Irish university in mysterious circumstances over 100 years ago.

However, the Irish Independent has learnt that no decision will be taken on the long-term fate of the mummy until the political unrest in Egypt resolves itself.

Egypt is working to normalise the political situation following the fall of President Mohammed Morsi's government and the election of the former head of the Egyptian army, President Abdel el-Sisi.

Egypt's First Secretary to Ireland, Latif Ellayeh, visited UCC last year for talks over the ownership of the mummy and its historical significance.

Cairo officials are adamant that the mummy, which was for a time hidden under floorboards at UCC, should be returned to Egypt.

However, UCC officials are hopeful that the mummy - which is believed to be that of a high-ranking court official rather than a Pharaoh - 
will be allowed remain in Ireland.

The row over its ownership erupted in November 2011 but hopes for an early settlement were thrown into turmoil by the ousting of Hosni Mubarak.


It was further complicated by the fall of the Morsi regime.

The mummy and the elaborate sarcophagus come from different Egyptian eras.

It is believed to be that of an adult male who lived around 300BC.

The man is likely to have been a senior administrator or military official but not a Pharaoh.

The coffin is from Thebes and is much older, dating back to between 600BC and 700BC.

UCC's mummy was first reported as being at the college in 1903, but is believed to have arrived sometime in the 1890s.

Irish Independent

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