Mummy and Wooden Coffin Base



Mummy and Wooden Coffin Base




2305-2152 BC


Old Kingdom, Dynasty 6
Egypt, Abydos


Linen, human remains, wood, modern head rest
Overall (mummy after conservation): 54 x 19 x 12 1/2 in. (137.2 x 48.3 x 31.8 cm)
Overall (coffin remains): 69 3/4 x 19 1/2 x 2 1/4 in. (177.2 x 49.5 x 5.7 cm)

Object Number



The first attempts at mummification were necessitated by the development of larger and more elaborate tombs and coffins, which counteracted the drying effects of the desert sand. In this early period there was more of an attempt to preserve the form of the body in the wrappings rather than treating the body itself. The fingers and toes were individually wrapped, as were the arms and legs. By the end of the Old Kingdom, members of the provincial nobility were buried in their local cemeteries rather than in the great court necropolis at Giza and Saqqara as they had been earlier.

Although now badly deteriorated, this mummy was once carefully wrapped in multiple layers of fine linen bands, soaked in a tree resin to stiffen the fabric and allow it to be modeled in the shape of the body beneath the wrappings. The deceased lies on his side in a sleeping position with his neck cradled in a headrest. It is not until after the Old Kingdom that mummies were uniformly buried in a prone position. The body was placed in a large, rectangular wooden coffin, only the bottom of which now remains. The coffin may have been placed inside a larger limestone sarcophagus. The coffin was made of massive cedar planks doweled together, and the outer surfaces of the boards were left undecorated and uninscribed. The name of the owner of the coffin is not known, and the mastaba at Abydos from which it came was not recorded.

Credit Line

Collected by William A. Shelton, funded by John A. Manget


Life and Death in the Pyramid Age: The Emory Old Kingdom Mummy, Michael C. Carlos Museum, September 10 - December 11, 2011|
MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, May 15, 2013 - Present
Joseph Litsch, "Mummy Museum," The Atlanta Journal and Constitution Magazine (January 7, 1979).|
Peter Lacovara, "The New Galleries of Egyptian and Near Eastern Art at the Michael C. Carlos Museum," Minerva 12 (September/October 2001): 9-16.|
Peter Lacovara and Betsy Teasley Trope, The Realm of Osiris (Atlanta: Michael C. Carlos Museum, 2001), 45.|
Peter Lacovara, "Life and Death in the Pyramid Age," Minerva 22 (2011): 12-13.|
Peter Lacovara, "Life and Death in the Pyramid Age: The Emory Old Kingdom Mummy," KMT 22 (2011): 75-82.|
MCCM Newsletter, Spring/Summer 2011.|
Catherine Fox, "'Life & Death in the Pyramid Age: The Emory Old Kingdom Mummy' at Carlos Museum," Access Atlanta (September 14, 2011).|
Howard Pousner, "Secrets from a Mummy: Emory Specimen in Storage for 90 Years," The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (September 14, 2011).|
MCCM Newsletter, Fall/Winter 2011.|
Susan Jaques, A Love for the Beautiful: Discovering America's Hidden Art Museums (Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot Press, 2012), 41.|
Peter Lacovara, et al., "An Egyptian Mummy of the Late Old Kingdom in the Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University," Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt 51 (2015): 65-74.|
Uta Siffert, "Alles nur Schall und Rauch? Zur Benennung und Bedeutung von Mumien aus dem Alten und Mittleren Reich," Sokar 32 (2016): 70.


© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Kay Hinton.
This image is provided by the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University, who retains all rights in it. This image is made available for limited non-commercial, educational, and personal use only, or for fair use as defined by United States law. For all other uses, please contact the Michael C. Carlos Museum Office of Collections Services at +1(404) 727-4282 or Users must cite the author and source of the image as they would material from any printed work, but not in any way that implies endorsement of the user or the user's use of the image. Users may not remove any copyright, trademark, or other proprietary notices, including without limitation attribution information, credits, and copyright notices that have been placed on or near the image by the Museum. The Museum assumes no responsibility for royalties or fees claimed by the artist or third parties. The User agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Emory University, its Michael C. Carlos Museum, its agents, employees, faculty members, students and trustees from and against any and all claims, losses, actions, damages, expenses, and all other liabilities, including but not limited to attorney’s fees, directly or indirectly arising out of or resulting from its use of photographic images for which permission is granted hereunder.

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“Mummy and Wooden Coffin Base,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed December 13, 2018,

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