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Displaying the Egyptian Dead: the Mortuary Archaeology of Egypt at the RMO

December 8, 2018

Archaeodeath

Before the early medieval cremation workshop, I arrived in Leiden and had 2 hours before closing time on Wednesday to rapidly explore the state museum of archaeology in Leiden: the RMO (Ruksmuseum van Oudheden). It is a fabulous space and an exhilarating experience for any visitor. I made the controversial (to many colleagues and me) to not make a beeline for the early medieval section, but to instead explore the rest of the museum.

I’m inspired to write a series of posts about the mortuary archaeology in the museum.  European museums contain not only a range of human remains, but artefacts derived from mortuary contexts. For me, I still struggle with the ethics of these displays, not as much the ‘should they be on display’ as ‘are we ethically displaying these remains by honestly and clearly explaining the funerary contexts from whence they derived?’  The RMO is very good…

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