Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Coffin reveals secret past of mummified 'royal boy'

This is South Devon

A 2,500-year-old mummified boy, who is a star draw at Devon's oldest museum, has unexpectedly been put in the shade – by the very coffin in which he lies.

Ever since he went on show as part of a major revamp at Torquay Museum in 2007, Psamtek – the only human mummy on public display in the county – has captured the imagination of thousands of curious visitors.

But now his own mummy-shaped coffin has stolen the limelight, after museum officials were told the ornate near-4ft-long object (1.2m) is nearly 1,000 years older than the body it contains.

Further investigation reveals the coffin may have been made for a junior member of royalty more than a century before the time of the famous boy king Tutankhamun.

Museum curator Barry Chandler said: "It's an extraordinary discovery and means that the coffin is now the most spectacular exhibit in our entire collection.

"It's extremely rare – even the British Museum doesn't have one quite like it."

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