Animal Mummies Conservation at the San Antonio Museum of Art

This project involved a conservation assessment and treatment of ten ancient Egyptian animal mummies from the Museum’s permanent collection, including two ibises, three falcons, four crocodiles, and one cat ranging in date from the Third Intermediate Period to the Roman Period (ca. 1070 BC – AD 364). Project Director: Jessica Powers

From the Third Intermediate Period (ca. 1070–712 BC) through the Roman Period (30 BC–AD 395), the ancient Egyptians adopted the practice of mummifying animals to serve as votive offerings that accompanied petitions to the gods. The animals were dedicated to the god or goddess to whom they were sacred, for example, ibises to Thoth and raptors to Horus. This custom resulted in the mummification of millions of animals, which were deposited in cemeteries associated with temples throughout Egypt. Nine of these votive animal mummies are now in the collection of the San Antonio Museum of Art: three crocodiles, three raptors, two ibises, and a cat. Although the ibis mummies were displayed in the past, concerns about the other mummies’ condition and uncertainty over the nature of the remains they contain deterred Museum staff from exhibiting them. The Museum undertook a thorough study of the animal mummies with the generous support of the Antiquities Endowment Fund grant.

Project Details

Location: United States, Northern America, Americas Organiser(s): San Antonio Museum of Art Project partner(s): University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. San Antonio Zoo Funder(s): American Research Center in Egypt-Antiquities Endowment Fund Funding received: $14,672 Commencement Date: 07/2017 Project Status: Completed
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