Pharaoh’s curse? The mystery of the rotating ancient Egyptian statue

There have been many myths about Ancient Egypt mysticism; the curses and the stargazing, the potions and the rituals.

At a museum in the British city of Manchester, bosses have been left confused over the mystery of a statue that appears to turn 180 degrees in its display case – all by itself.

The 10-inch tall statue of Neb-Sanu, dating back to 1800 BC, was found in a mummy’s tomb and has been at the Manchester Museum for eighty years, the Britain-based Independent newspaper reported earlier this week.

“A time-lapse video clearly shows it turning on its axis during the day, apparently of its own volition. During the night, however, it remains still,” the newspaper reported.

There have been suggestions from an Egyptologist at the museum that the Neb-Sanu statue may have been struck by ancient curse.

"I noticed one day that it had turned around. I thought it was strange because it is in a case and I am the only one who has a key,” Egyptologist Campbell Price told the Manchester Evening News.

“I put it back but then the next day it had moved again. We set up a time-lapse video and, although the naked eye can’t see it, you can clearly see it rotate on the film. The statuette is something that used to go in the tomb along with the mummy,”

“Mourners would lay offerings at its feet.”

“In Ancient Egypt they believed that if the mummy is destroyed then the statuette can act as an alternative vessel for the spirit. Maybe that is what is causing the movement.”
But another less-mystic explanation has been given for the mystery.

University professor Brian Cox has said that it’s a problem with the surface the statue sits on.

“Brian thinks it’s differential friction, where two surfaces - the serpentine stone of the statuette and glass shelf it is on - cause a subtle vibration which is making the statuette turn,” said Price.

“But it has been on those surfaces since we have had it and it has never moved before. And why would it go around in a perfect circle?”

Commenters on The Independent’s website have offered their own explanations to the mystery.

“Probably not people moving [that is causing the statue to turn], but heavy delivery trucks on the street outside. These sort of deliveries start early in the morning before the place is open,” wrote Mark Shellhamer.

“Has anyone considered that this statue was supposed to hold the Maat (a particular part of a persons spiritual being) of the ancient ruler and that you may have just stumbled on to part of the statues design. Perhaps they all turned originally and the museum stumbled upon the correct positioning of the statue,” wrote commenter Trisha Idleno Morey.

Meanwhile, others offered more witty solutions to dealing with the statue.

“Put it on a rubber mat. But then that would not help visitor numbers,” wrote another commenter.
 

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:39 - GMT 06:39
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