Scientist opens mummy coffin, finds more than dust The mummified body of Minirdis, a 14-year-old Egyptian boy and his burial mask lie in his opened coffin at the Field Museum. His exposed toes appear at left (AP photos)
Scientist opens mummy coffin, finds more than dust
Lexile

Once the lid was off the wood coffin holding the 2,500-year-old mummified remains of a 14-year-old Egyptian boy, scientist J.P. Brown could relax.

Brown is the conservator at Chicago's Field Museum. He and three other scientists had just used clamps and pieces of metal to create a cradle to lift the lid. They wore blue surgical gloves. Slowly they lifted the contraption containing the coffin lid. Then they carefully walked it to a table in a lab at the museum.

"Sweet!" Brown said, after helping set the lid down. He later added, "Oh yeah, I was nervous."

It was a well-planned routine. It came as scientists started conservation work on the mummy of Minirdis. He was the son of a priest. The mummy needs to be stabilized so it can travel. It will appear in the exhibit, "Mummies: Images of the Afterlife." It's expected to premier next September at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

The Field Museum has had the mummy since the 1920s. That's when the institution received it from the Chicago Historical Society. It's part of the museum's collection of 30 complete human mummies from Egypt.

"There's always a risk of damage," said Brown. "We like to handle these things as little as possible."

He did the work in a lab filled with plastic-covered examination tables. They were set behind a large window to let schoolchildren watch his daily work.

Inside the coffin, there was expected damage. The mummy's feet were detached. They were partially unwrapped with his toes were sticking out. His shroud and mask were torn and twisted sideways. Those will be repaired.

Brown didn't worry that the mummy would scatter to dust when the coffin was opened. That's something common in the movies.

"The last bit of 'Indiana Jones' and all that," Brown explained before opening the coffin. "That's not going to happen."

And it didn't.

Brown walked around the opened coffin. He explained the significance of a certain marking. If Minirdis had lived, he would have been a priest like his father, Brown said. Scientists don't know why he died so young.

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COMMENTS (17)
  • WV2001TacoBelll
    12/12/2014 - 01:04 p.m.

    thats really cool I think mummies and stuff like that is interesting i wou8ld like to haer more from this

  • GavinN-Mau
    12/15/2014 - 11:32 a.m.

    That is the most creepiest thing since I watched the grinch.
    How was the mummy A kid but his feet were unwrapped and sticking out.

  • JaleecaC-Ewi
    12/16/2014 - 10:46 a.m.

    J.P Brown studied a 2,00-year-old mummified of a 14-year-old Egyptian boy. on December the 12 2014. in Chicago flied museum. the mummy can be broken very easy that's why J.p Brown was nerves the mummy toes was hanging out the mask was torn but Mr. Brown was not worrying about it.

  • NoahH-Mau
    12/16/2014 - 11:37 a.m.

    Scientists opened a 2,500 year-old mummified remains of the boy.
    The scientists name was Mr.Brown.
    He searched the mummy's wood coffin.
    He said he was nerves.
    Brown let kids watch him do his work on the mummy's coffin.
    I liked it!


    Noah Hogan

  • cameronb-Ewi
    12/17/2014 - 10:26 a.m.

    who is the scientist that discovered the mummy? J.P Brown.
    what was the damages to the mummy? The mummy's feet were detached. They were partially unwrapped with his toes sticking out. and his shroud and mask were torn and twisted sideways.
    when did they had mummy? since the 1920s.
    where did they kept the mummy at? The natural history museum of los Angeles county.
    why did they need the mummy to be sterilized? so it can travel.

  • GMauricio-Sti
    12/18/2014 - 09:42 a.m.

    I believe the finding a mummy would be really cool. I believe this because you can learn more about the past and you never know maybe you will get money out of it.

  • SAlexander-Sti
    12/22/2014 - 09:49 a.m.

    M - silentest found a mummy they have been looking for, for years
    E - People helped him lift the lid to the casket
    A - If i were him I would have given up after that long
    L - A man has been looking for a mummy for years, he finally found it years later and people helped him open the casket. If I was this man I would have given up on the search a long time ago.

  • SDomanic-Sti
    12/23/2014 - 12:23 p.m.

    M - silentest found a mummy they have been looking for, for years
    E - People helped him lift the lid to the casket
    A - If i were him I would have given up after that long
    L - A man has been looking for a mummy for years, he finally found it years later and people helped him open the casket. If I was this man I would have given up on the search a long time ago.

    • prudet-Nim
      3/05/2015 - 03:14 p.m.

      Ya. That is awesome there were rocks and stone ya that was awesome.

  • VictorS-Ver
    1/30/2015 - 02:26 p.m.

    I liKe this article because a 14-year-old Egyptian boy, scientist J.P. Brown found a Mummy that was called minirdis that was found in Egypt. When they lifted the cover they only say rocks, they thought they were going to find dust of the body.

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