Digging in Museums and Archives – Tonight

If you have read my bio, you probably noticed that I have another research interest outside of the social history of the Middle Kingdom period, which stemmed from my first encounter with a practically unknown ancient Egyptian collection at Tulane University.  For the past two years, I have been working to piece together both ancient and modern evidence to learn more about the artifacts and mummies in this collection.  Some of the most intriguing questions about this collection may sound quite basic at first because so little has been known about the collection in the past: how did this collection end up in New Orleans and at the university?  Who were these ancient people whose remains have resided in New Orleans for over 150 years?  Where, when, and how did they live and die?  Do any of the collection’s coffins and other artifacts belong to these two people?


My first close-up look at one of the Tulane Egyptian Collection's coffins

My first close-up look at one of the Tulane Egyptian Collection’s coffins


Answering these questions help us to recreate some of the original context of this collection that was lost when it was excavated in the mid-19th century, before modern standards of archaeological recording existed.  Unraveling and piecing back together all of this evidence takes time and travel (documents and artifacts related to the Tulane collection are housed in many different cities).  Despite the fact that much work is still to be done, we have learned a great deal already and answered some of the questions I posed above.

Tonight I will be presenting my latest findings at the Louisiana Art and Science Museum in Baton Rouge, LA.  If you’re in the area, come join us!

Details here.


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About Melinda Nelson-Hurst

Melinda Nelson-Hurst is an Egyptologist whose interests lie in the social history and archaeology of ancient Egypt. She has worked most extensively on families and their influence within the state administration during the period of the Middle Kingdom. Since starting a new research project on the Egyptian Collection at Tulane University in 2012, her interests have expanded into the modern history of the field of Egyptology and Egyptian collections. You can also follow her on twitter @dr_mgnh

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