Saturday, July 21, 2007

Harrogate museum offers study ot artefacts to public

Macroworld Investor (Source: The Financial Times)
The Harrogate Royal Pump Room Museum have launched a project to enable the public to vote on which of six artefacts from the Egyptology collection should be studied next.

MUSEUM visitors are being given the chance to help unlock the secrets of ancient Egypt in an innovative exhibition. The public will be able to vote for six artefacts from an Egyptology exhibition at Harrogate's Royal Pump Room Museum, prioritising the items which will then be taken away for in-depth scientific research. The idea followed studies of a vase which had been in the museum's collection for almost 30 years but was thought to be a fake because of its pristine condition. Investigation However, it was established that the artefact did in fact date back 5,000 years.

The latest project is part of the museum's Egyptology: Science Investigation exhibition, which is due to be made a permanent feature later this year after an GBP80,000 grant was secured from the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts. Museum staff will now work alongside York University's Egyptologist Dr Joann Fletcher and scientist Dr Stephen Buckley to study the artefacts selected by the public vote.

The Museum's web page dedicated to the Egyptology Science Investigation (ESI) project enables online voting:

The ESI: Egyptology Science Investigation project lasts three years. It will explore and interpret our important Egyptology collections through displays, website, formal and informal learning. It has been made possible by funding from NESTA and involves us working with Dr Stephen Buckley and Dr Joann Fletcher from the University of York, Archaeology Department with its Bioarch section.

Dr Buckley from the university is carrying outscientific testing and research on our objects. This is providing us with much important information on what we have. For example, initial tests on this canopic jar made of banded calcite showed the presence of cholesterol, which indicated that the contents were human or animal. Further research has narrowed this down to human contents. The tests also revealed the use of alcohol and aromatic spices, as well as conifer resins. A new sample has just been taken and testing of this should reveal which organ was placed in the jar. Click here to vote on the next objects to be tested.

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