Wesleyan Mummy

Human Mummy

Biographical Information
Name(s) Wesleyan Mummy
Age 20-25
Sex Male
Status Middle or upper class
Height 5'2"
Culture Late Period Egyptian
Date(s) 600-500 BCE
Current Location
Location Special Collections & Archives, Wesleyan University
Catalog #

The Wesleyan Mummy is a Late Period Egyptian Mummy. Purchased by Wesleyan Professor van Bunschoten between 1884-85 and brought to Wesleyan University, it was housed in the Wesleyan Museum until its closure in 1957, and then in the Wesleyan Special Collections and Archives. It was unwrapped and studied by Professor Stephen Dyson in the late 1970's.


The mummy's bones and teeth show no sign of trauma or malnutrition, and all teeth are present. The fingernails show no sign of hard labour. Dyson determined from these factors that the mummy was of the middle or upper classes, perhaps a priest.


The brain was removed transnasally. Neither the skull nor body were packed with cloth or resin. Dyson assumed the body had been packed in natron to assist drying. The body showed traces of red ocher, often found on male Egyptian mummies. The linen bandages wrapping the mummy were treated with resin, but unlike some mummies, it had not been poured on to create a smooth, glossy finish.

Four tightly wrapped and resin-permeated rolls of linen were located in pelvic cavity, having been inserted via a slit in the left of the torso. These showed no signs of writing but did contain some foreign material, perhaps tissue. These may be symbolic replacements for the removed internal organs; unfortunately, the Wesleyan collection does not include any canopic jars.


In the late 1970's a team x-rayed, unwrapped, and examined the mummy.


The mummy's hands were excessively long for his height, which the experts on site tentatively identified as possibly indicative of Marfan syndrome or something similar..

External Links

The Long-Lasting Legacy of Wesleyan's Professor von Benschoten


Dyson, S. (1979). The Mummy of Middletown. Archaeology,'32(5), 57-59. Retrieved from

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