Mummy Monday: The Gebelein Mummies

The Other Gebelein Mummies

At one point, she was called “Gingerella,” in regards to the Gebelein Man’s nickname, “Ginger.” Both of these nicknames are now not used because of a British Act of Parliament called the Human Tissue Act of 2004. This act allows for anonymous organ donation and requires licenses for those intending to publicly display human remains. “The policy outlines the principles governing the respectful and lawful holding, display, study, and care of human remains in the British Museum’s Collection” (British Museum website).

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EA32752

EA32753 was an adolescent, though the gender is uncertain. They were 4.9 feet (1.49 meters) tall and had a detached skull when discovered. There is some speculation that the head may have not belonged to the body. Although the person was on the younger side, their teeth were very worn. There were fractures in all ribs, left tibia, and right thigh bone. Finally, linen was used to pack the thorax and abdomen.

EA32754 was a male adult who was approximately 5.2 feet (1.6 meters) tall. He had healthy teeth, fractures on the 9th rib, the right femur, and a crack fracture left of the sciatic notch of his pelvis. He also had tufts of brown hair on the remains of his scalp.

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EA32754

EA32755 was an elderly person with an undetermined gender. They were 5 feet (1.52 meters) tall and was probably placed in a wicker basket and covered with animal skin. The body has decalcified bones which is consistent with senile osteoporosis. Although all the teeth were present, the caps were worn. They had many fractured ribs and the legs had been detached because of fractures from the mid-shaft of both thigh bones.

Finally, EA32756 was an adult male who was 5 feet (1.51 meters) tall. There were remnants of bandages at the neck, pelvis, and right ankle. The skull was detached, the ribs and left femur were fractured. One arm had been dislocated at the elbow joint, the left hand and both feet are detached.

mid ea32756 july 2015 after conservation full body on board

The Gebelein Man

The Gebelein Man (EA32751) (formerly called Ginger) is currently displayed in the British Museum Egyptian Gallery and has been since 1901. He was the earliest mummified body to be seen by the public at the British Museum.

He was 5.3 feet (1.63 meters) tall and was most likely somewhere from 18-21 years old. All of his teeth are present and he has ginger-colored hair on his scalp. He has fractures to his ribs, right pubic ring, both thigh bones, shin and calf bones. Three shells are also present on the soft tissue just behind his left knee. Due to the high humidity of London, the skin on the back of the skull had begun to peel. Curators and conservators have glued the skin back with mixed success.

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He is displayed in a reconstructed sand grave in the gallery. Although his grave goods were not recorded, the grave is reconstructed with different grave goods from the same period. Black-topped pottery, buff-colored pots, White Cross line ware, and Decorated ware are all featured. There are also slate cosmetic palettes, hard stone vessels, and flint knives.