This article focuses too much on specific examples without explaining their importance to its main subject. (October 2009)
Throughout history there have been several mummy forgeries.
In 1928, The Washington Post reported an event in Hackensack, New Jersey when an "Egyptian Princess" was found to be a forgery. A local minister who said he acquired it in Europe had given it to the Bergen Country Historical Society in 1902. It gained great notoriety on display in the Johnson Public Library until the curator, Mrs. Frances Westervelt, found it to be a rag-stuffed fake. The "mummy" was removed and incinerated.
Mississippi State Capitol forgeryEdit
In the 1920s, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History purchased a large collection of Native American artifacts from the nephew of Colonel Brevoort Butler after Butler's death. 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 Persian Princess or Persian Mummy is a mummy of an alleged Persian princess that surfaced in Pakistani Baluchistan in October 2000. After huge publicity and further investigation, the mummy proved to be an archaeological forgery and possibly a murder victim.
- "Egyptian Princess Mummy Mere Rag-Stuffed Dummy". Washington Post. October 26, 1928. "The prize exhibit of the Bergen County Historical Society for the last 26 years has been the mummy of an Egyptian princess reposing in the museum occupying the top floor of the Johnson Public Library here."
- Capers, Charlotte. "Dummy Mummy," The Delta Review, Vol.6, No.9, pp. 78-80, 1969.
- Romey, Kristin M.; Rose, Mark (January–February 2001). "Special Report: Saga of the Persian Princess". Archaeology. Archaeological Institute of America. 54 (1).
- Mississippi Department of Archives and History
- "X-ray Wraps It Up:Mummy Fake". Washington Post. 20 June 1969. "The "Egyptian Mummy" was a popular tourist attraction in the Mississippi Capital. The state was justifiably proud of the relic of the ancient land of the pyramids. Then came Gentry Yeatman, 22, a medical student whose school project was to x-ray the mummy and make a report to the Department of Archives and History."