Rita Lucarelli on Crocodile Mummies in Ancient Egypt

09 Mar, 2021

Rita Lucarelli on Crocodile Mummies in Ancient Egypt

Rita Lucarelli, a UC Berkeley Associate Professor of Egyptology, recently spoke about ancient Egyptian crocodile mummies in the Fiat Vox podcast. From the transcript:

In 1899, two archaeologists — Arthur Hunt and Bernard Grenfell — were on an expedition in Northern Egypt in an ancient town called Tebtunis. (It’s now Umm el-Baragat.) With funding from famed University of California benefactor Phoebe A. Hearst, they were searching for human mummies and other ancient artifacts.

At the time, there was a Western fascination with ancient Egypt, later coined Egyptomania. Americans and Europeans were after all things Egyptian — especially human mummies, partly because the mummies represented the Western obsession with bringing the dead back to life.

[Music: “Building the Sled” by Blue Dot Sessions]

While the archaeologists and their team were excavating the town’s subterranean cemeteries, they did find human mummies, but they also found other mummies — ones they didn’t expect to find: crocodile mummies.

Instead of being excited about the discovery, they saw the reptilian mummies as a nuisance, getting in the way of what they really wanted.

The transcript for the podcast can be found here!