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Mummy Who Would Be King, The

Program Overview


Mummy NOVA investigates whether an Egyptian mummy that wound up on display at a curiosity museum in Canada may be the remains of Rameses I, the founder of one of Egypt's greatest dynasties.

The program:

  • reviews how the mummy appears to have been purchased around 1860 and shipped to the Niagara Falls Museum and Daredevil Hall of Fame in Ontario, Canada.

  • describes how an amateur German Egyptologist became intrigued with the mummy in 1979 and prompted a subsequent inquiry that led investigators to conclude in 1985 that the remains did not belong to a royal mummy from the New Kingdom.

  • reviews some of the pharaohs who ruled during the New Kingdom era, which began about 3,500 years ago and lasted five centuries.

  • relates that while the tombs of nearly all the pharaohs buried in the Valley of the Kings were looted in antiquity, their mummies were safeguarded and eventually moved to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

  • reports which of the mummies of New Kingdom pharaohs have already been identified and where many of them were discovered.

  • notes how the mummy captured the attention of an archeology student who invited a visiting British Egyptologist to come see it at the Niagara Falls Museum.

  • relates how the mummy came to be carbon-14 dated in 1994, which indicated the remains were about 2,700 years old, too old to be part of the later Roman era.

  • explains how the Michael C. Carlos Museum in Atlanta acquired the mummy in 1999.

  • follows the investigation launched by the Carlos Museum to determine the mummy's identification, which included visual observation, X-ray and cross-matching of the skull to an existing database of pharaoh skull shapes, CT scans, and archival evidence.

  • concludes with the confirmation that the unknown mummy is almost certainly a pharaoh and possibly Rameses I.

  • follows the October 2003 return of the mummy to Egypt.

Taping Rights: Can be used up to one year after the program is taped off the air.

Teacher's Guide
Mummy Who Would Be King, The

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