Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Manchester mystery

The 4,000-year-old statue of Neb-senu stands 10" tall and has been on display in England's Manchester Museum for 80 years. The sudden buzz about it spinning on its own in its glass case would not have been blogworthy except for the sterling reputation of the museum as one of the premier centers for Egyptology in the world. The staff has been pragmatic about it and has suggested that the cause may be vibrations from foot traffic inside or street traffic outside the building, but the statuette is the only piece that has shifted and it's never done so in decades. Curator Campbell Price recounts, "Most Egyptologists are not superstitious people. When I first noticed that one of our Middle Kingdom statuettes (Acc. no. 9325) had been turned around 180 degrees to face the back of its case in our new Ancient Worlds galleries, I wondered who had changed the object’s position this without telling me. The Egyptians themselves would have appreciated the concern to make visible for passers-by the text on its back pillar – a prayer for offerings for the deceased. Yet the next time I looked into the case, the statue was facing in another direction – and a day later had yet another orientation. None of the other objects in the display had moved. The case was locked. And I have the only key." Thoroughly puzzled, he set up an 11-hour time-lapse video (WATCH IT HERE) so that people could see for themselves...

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