Thursday, October 19, 2006

Barnum Mummy Talks

More about the Barnum mummy, and its purchaser, Phineas Taylor Barnum: "Recently, Pa-Ib, a mummy purported to be an ancient Egyptian priest, was moved from Bridgeport's Barnum Museum to a radiology office for tests that showed the mummy probably was an adult female, and was most definitely Egyptian.
Considering P.T. Barnum's good-naturedly spotty record on the provenance of some of his exhibits, that's news. As his era's combination of Disney and Donald Trump - hurly-burly entertainment with a developer's eye on the horizon - Barnum is famous for never letting the truth get in the way of a good exhibit. That the mummy might have been roughly what people thought it was is a bit of a hoot to people who know him. 'He's been dead over 100 years, and he still exhausts me,' said Kathleen Maher, museum executive director. The entire project - though scientifically sound and serious as bones - has its participants smiling. . . .
The CT scans found arthritis in Pa-Ib's pelvic region, indicative of child birth, Maher said. Her teeth are somewhat flattened - perhaps by her diet - and her arms are crossed the same way those of other mummies of higher stature are found crossed. There is no sign of blunt trauma, and a packet of organs resting inside her abdomen bears further study, said Maher."
See the above address for the entire story.

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