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 Ancient Egyptian Statue Moving - Manchester

Museum Curators Shocked by Ancient Egyptian Statue Moving on its Own


A 4,000-year-old ancient Egyptian statue locked away in a secure display case at the Manchester Museum in England has shocked curators by rotating on its own.

The 10-inch tall statue of a man named Neb-Senu, which was originally an offering to the god Osiris, was recovered from a mummy’s tomb more than 80 years ago and has been on display ever since.  But just in the last three weeks, the statue has started turning around without any human intervention.

"I noticed one day that it had turned around. I thought it was strange because it is in a case and I am the only one who has a key." curator Campbell Price said.  “But the next time I looked, it was facing in another direction — and a day later had yet another orientation."

Ancient Egyptians believed that if a mummified body was damaged or destroyed then the statues buried along with them could act as an alternative vehicle for their spirit. There are also myths and legends associated with Egyptian curses that take effect when a tomb has been disrupted. 

Price claims that he and other Egyptologists are not usually superstitious about those types of things and his first concern was that someone was getting access to the statue and moving it, so he set up a camera to record the statue day and night. When viewing the video of the statue at high speed, the rotation of the statue can clearly be seen without any human intervention.

Physicist Brian Cox believes that the statue is moving as a result of differential friction – a subtle vibration between the statue and the glass shelf it is placed on. This explains why the statue only appears to be moving when visitors are in the museum.  Price, however, is still sceptical since the statue has been on the same surface for 80 years and has never moved before.

For now, the case of the rotating Egyptian statue remains a mystery….

By April Holloway



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April Holloway is a Co-Owner, Editor and Writer of Ancient Origins. For privacy reasons, she has previously written on Ancient Origins under the pen name April Holloway, but is now choosing to use her real name, Joanna Gillan.

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