03/21/2013 1:57pm by Nycole Kinns
ALBANY, N.Y. (March 21, 2013) As part of The Albany Institute of History & Art’s development of a major exhibition around the Albany Mummies and Ancient Egypt, GE Presents: The Mystery of the Albany Mummies, the mummies underwent advanced technology CT scans and X-‐rays on GE equipment at Albany Medical Center early last year. Thanks to the expertise of Egyptologists and radiologists, the modern technology has allowed the Institute to clarify and confirm that the mummies – originally thought to be a male and a female – are actually both male.
“Western culture has long been fascinated with Ancient Egypt and the Capital District community is no exception,” said the Institute’s Interim Director and Chief Curator Tammis K. Groft. “For over 100 years visitors to the museum enjoyed learning about the Albany Mummies and now, for the first time, we have more definitive answers about their true identities.”
The Mystery of the Albany Mummies Exhibition
This major exhibition, set to open September 21, 2013 and run through June 8, 2014, was developed by the Albany Institute of History & Art and is presented by GE. It tells the story of western cultures’ fascination with Ancient Egypt and the journey of two Ancient Egyptian mummies and coffins from Cairo to Albany in 1909. Dr. Peter Lacovara, Senior Curator of Ancient Egyptian, Nubian, and Near Eastern Art at the Michael C. Carlos Museum in Atlanta, is the Guest Curator. The exhibition will feature 200 objects as well as educational programs for all ages, a book, and a film. To compliment the Institute’s collection of 70 objects, the exhibition will be enhanced with 130 major loans from around the world. For the first time since their sale, the mummy and its coffin will be reunited
here in Albany. Using the Albany mummies and coffins as a starting point, the exhibit is divided into four themes: Egyptomania, From the Nile to the Hudson, Ankhefenmut and His World, and Preparing for the Afterlife.
On March 31, 2012 the Albany Institute’s two mummies were transported to Albany Medical Center by
museum staff and the University at Albany’s student-‐run Five Quad Ambulance service to be scanned
using advanced CT and X-‐ray technology.
The team that examined the mummies included Guest Curator, Peter Lacovara; Egyptologist Dr. Bob Brier, who specializes in mummification; two Albany Medical Center radiologists, Phuong Vinh, M.D., and Michael Schuster, M.D. The CT-‐scans were done on a machine capable of images as thin as .6 mm, permitting high resolution images.
True Identity Revealed
The CT-‐scans and X-‐rays of the wrapped 21st Dynasty Mummy originally believed to be female provided detailed pictures of its skeletal structure with all the attributes of a man such as thicker, more robust and angular bones, which indicates more muscle tissue. In addition, the female pelvis is quite different from that of a male, to allow for childbirth. The CT-‐scans and X-‐rays showed a distinctly male pelvis. With the gender of the mummy determined as male, the Institute realized that he was Ankhefenmut, the temple priest and sculptor because the upper right
side (most Ancient Egyptians were right handed) of his upper body was decidedly more muscular indicating that he probably spent much of his time carving statues of the gods. His bones are well mineralized, solid and uniform indicating that his diet contained adequate protein and calcium. His dentition was exceptional, with no cavities or loss of teeth. He was not a tall man, approximately 5 feet 1-‐3/4 inches tall, not extremely short for an ancient Egyptian, but well below the average of about 5 feet 5 inches for males. The study of his bones also revealed that he was about 50 years old when he died, his lower back has some degenerative disc disease, and his knees showed
some calcifications typical of middle age. There were also some bone spurs on the head and neck of the femurs, with the right side indicating more arthritis.
Chris Horne, GE’s Communications and Public Affairs representative, remarked that, "This announcement is an exciting example of how investments in technology can be leveraged for innovative purposes. This discovery is going to forever shape the story of the Albany Mummies and GE is proud to have been a part of it and to present the accompanying exhibition later this year.”
Documentary Film: The Albany Mummies: Unraveling an Ancient Mystery This is a collaborative effort among the University at Albany Foundation, the University at Albany College of Arts & Sciences and Center for Humanities, Arts, and TechnoSciences, Albany Institute of History & Art, and Albany Medical Center. “The Albany Mummies: Unraveling an Ancient Mystery” documents the story of two ancient travelers separated by a thousand years and their astounding journeys: first from life to death to the afterlife; then through history from the Valley of the Kings
to the Albany Institute of History and Art; and finally to the radiology imaging labs at the Albany Medical Center.
ABOUT THE ALBANY INSTITUTE OF HISTORY & ART
The Albany Institute’s distinguished collections and acclaimed exhibitions comprise the definitive expression of the cultural, historical, and artistic heritage of Albany and the upper Hudson Valley. From its world-‐renowned Hudson River School collection, to the famous Albany Mummies, to the wide range of performances, lectures, and festivals, to its outstanding educational and family programming, this distinctive and engaging institution provides visitors of all ages and interests with a splendid museum experience. One of America’s oldest museums, the Albany Institute of History & Art was founded in 1791, during the presidency of George Washington, making it older than the Louvre, the Smithsonian, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
TO SCHEDULE AN INTERVIEW:
1. Albany Institute of History & Art
Elizabeth Reiss (518) 462-‐4478 can schedule interviews for:
i. Tammis K. Groft, Interim Director and Chief Curator
ii. Dr. Bob Brier, Egyptologist
2. General Electric
Chris Horne, Communications and Public Affairs (518) 225-‐2779
3. University at Albany
Kristin C. Marshall (518) 956-‐8158 can schedule interviews for:
i. Fardin Sanai, Executive Producer of “The Albany Mummies: Unraveling an Ancient Mystery”
ii. Professor Mary Valentis, Co-‐Writer, Co-‐Director and Co-‐ Producer of “The Albany
Mummies: Unraveling an Ancient Mystery”
iii. Professor Bill Rainbolt, Co-‐Writer, Co-‐Director and Co-‐ Producer of “The Albany
Mummies: Unraveling an Ancient Mystery”
4. Albany Medical Center
Sue Ford (518) 262-‐3421 can schedule interviews for:
i. Phoung Vinh, M.D., Radiologist
ii. Michael Schuster, M.D., Radiologist
Additional information about the upcoming exhibition GE Presents the Mystery of the
Albany Mummies and additional museum resources can be found online at: http://www.albanyinstitute.org/gepresentsthemysteryofthealbanymummies.html
Images are available upon request. Please call Nicole Peterson at 463-4478 ext. 414 or email at email@example.com.