Ancient Egyptian Practice of Mummification May Have Spread to England
The embalmed body of a child who died around 300 AD has been found near Barnsley in South Yorkshire, England. Egyptologist Joann Fletcher says that the remains indicate that the practice of mummification spread from ancient Egypt to England.
Archaeologists found a gypsum cast which covered the embalmed, linen-wrapped body of a child, a practice which Fletcher says would have been used by the ancient Egyptians to adapt the custom of mummification to the damp Yorkshire climate. So far, examples of mummification techniques have been discovered in Pollington, a few miles north of Barnsley, as well as in York and Castleford.
Other clues linking the discovery to Egypt include bronze figurines of Egyptian gods and the remains of individuals with North African ancestry uncovered in the same area. Some of the artefacts that were found, such as Roman pottery, jewellery, clothing and coins, dated back to the time of the Roman conquest of Egypt following the defeat of Antony and Cleopatra. Dr Fletcher argues that the Egyptians exported their goods and customs, including embalming and mummification, to Roman settlements in the region after the Romans invaded in 43 AD.
“There's certainly evidence that Romans in our part of the world were embalming, mummifying and wrapping in linen their dead, according to Egyptian customs,” said Fletcher.
Now she hopes that the extraordinary prospect of finding a preserved mummy may result from digs on undisturbed burial plots in the area.
The discoveries are now on display in a new exhibition at Experience Barnsley called ‘The Romans are Coming’ which for the first time reveals the link between Yorkshire and Ancient Egypt.