Recently, staff at Bolton Museum have been attempting to identify a mystery bone
that came out of bundles of Egyptian linen from Qau el-Kabir. For 83 years the identity of the bones contained within the bundles has remained a mystery, but Tom Hardwick and David Craven, Egyptologist and Geologist respectively at olton Museum, recently decided to re-open the investigation, hoping to find an answer.
Images of the bone were sent to experts around the world, and several ideas were suggested. Eventually Dr Laura Bishop, Senior Lecturer in Palaeoanthropolgy at Liverpool John Moores University, and an expert in North African fossil animals, offered to come over and identify the bone in person.David and Laura spent a morning examining the bone, trying to settle on an identification. Eventually, after looking at reference texts and comparing the specimen to bones from the museum collections, they were both happy with their answer.The bone is the scaphoid, one of the bones of the wrist, from the left front leg of a large Antelope species, probably a Wildebeest; a species that would not have been present in Egypt as the time the bone was found and wrapped.
If you remember, there was a competition open to the public, which offered a prize to the individual who correctly identified the bones from photographs published on the Museum's site. Nobody guessed antelope, so the prize was given to the nearest guess - gazelle. See the above page for more about the bones and their context.