The mummy of Ramses I has been a guest in Canada and the United States for more than 140 years. But during his stay he was not awarded due respect, because there was nobody around who was interested to know the identity of the brittle corpse with his bony arms holding himself.
But today we know he started his journey when his mummy was discovered sometime around 1850 in the Deir el-Bahri cache by the notorious grave robbers, the Rassul brothers of Luxor.
In 1854 Sydney Barnett (son of Thomas Barnett) made his first trip to Egypt where he bought the mummy for seven British Pound. He brought it back and it became part of his father’s museum, who was a taxidermist. Thomas Barnett had opened a museum 1827 in a former brewery at the base of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls in Ontario. Here the mummy shared its space with hundreds of thousand rare specimens of birds, animals, minerals and fish., which Thomas Barnett wanted the world to see.
In 1878 the museum was acquired by the Saul Davis. But when in 1882 the Niagara Parks Commission was formed it forced the relocation of the museum to other side of the Niagara Falls to New York State, where the Davis family had established an Art Gallery and Museum. Now the mummy was in the United States for the first time. But it moved back across the border when the US parks authority assumed possession of the land where museum stood.
The mummy stayed in Canada until in 1999 when William Jamieson, who had bought a tribal art collection some time ago(which included the mummy), sold it to the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University in Atlanta.
WHO WAS RAMSES I?
He founded Ancient Egypt’s 19th dynasty. The date of his short reign, not completely known, show a time -line of late 1292 – 1290 BC. He was the father of Seti I, making him the grandfather of Egyp’s greatest pharaoh Rames II.
HOW WAS RAMSES l FINALLY RECOGNIZED
When Egyptologists were invited to look at the new acquisitions in Atlanta, it was the unwrapped mummy, as it had often been referred to in the past, that got their attention. Since then CT scabs, X-rays, skull measurements and radio carbon dating test done by experts at Emory University believe it is Ramses I, even though it cannot to be conclusively determined. However, the arms being crossed high up on his chest, a gesture solely reserved for Egyptian royalty confirms he was a king – which needed no scanner.
WHO DECIDED TO RETURN THE MUMMY TO EGYPT?
Despite Ramses I being one of the main attractions of the Michael Carlos Museum the curator of ancient art made this decision, and I quote:
There was never any question about whether the mummy would be returned to Egypt if it proved to be a royal,” said Peter Lacovara, an Egyptologist and curator of ancient art at the Michael C. Carlos Museum. “It was simply the right thing to do.”
Therefore on October 24, 2003 Ramses I boarded an airplane to Egypt. Arriving in Cairo his coffin was carried off the plane draped with the Egyptian flag and welcomed with a military band. Zahi Hawass, (at that time) head of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, who had travelled with the body said:
“We are not 100% sure that the mummy is that of Ramses I, but we are sure he is a king.”
………………AND WHO SAID YOU CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN?
More from Egypt soon