Saturday, April 9, 2011

Mississippi Mummy

Mississippi State Capitol forgery

In the 1920s, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History purchased a large collection of Native American artifacts from Colonel Brevoort Butler.

Included in these artifacts was one item that was clearly not of Native origin, an Egyptian mummy.

For decades this item was on display in the State Capitol Building, becoming a much-loved attraction and source of local pride.

In 1969, Gentry Yeatman, a medical student with an interest in archeology, asked the museum for human remains to study for evidence of disease. Permission was granted to remove the mummy and for it to be sent to the University of Mississippi Medical Center for an autopsy. Radiological examination showed a few animal ribs and several square nails holding together a wooden frame.

Upon closer examination it was found to be primarily composed of papier-mâché. German newsprint was found as well as an 1898 issue of the Milwaukee Journal. The fake mummy has now become more famous than ever and transformed into a prized possession linked deeply to the folk history of Mississippi.

The Case of the Dummy Mummy 

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