Copyright 2002 Associated Press Information Services

[ July 10th 2002 ]

Satisfied a mummy looted from his tomb 150 years ago is that of Ramsses I, founder of a famed Egyptian dynasty, Emory University officials have agreed to return the long-lost pharaoh. "If George Washington's body were found abroad, we would certainly hope that it would be sent back to the United States," Peter Lacovara, curator of ancient art at Emory's Michael C. Carlos Museum, said Tuesday.

The return of the 3,000-year-old mummy will not interfere with the museum's long-standing plans to exhibit the ancient corpse next May through April 2004 Lacovara said. "It is exciting to be collaborating more closely with our colleagues in Egypt and to be moving closer to the moment when we return the mummy to the people of Egypt," Lacovara said, "and to have an opportunity to share an exhibition with visitors before its departure."

The well-preserved corpse - its arms crossed right over left, with the left hand appearing to grasp an object, possibly a scepter - is the centerpiece of a large Egyptian collection the museum purchased in 1999 from the Niagara Falls Museum in Ontario, Canada. The Ontario museum likely received the mummy from a Canadian doctor who had the artifacts smuggled out of Egypt in the early 1860s, about the time tomb raiders discovered a cache of royal mummies at Deir el-Bahri near the Valley of the Kings. It was from that cache that the remains of Ramsses I disappeared.

Carbon dating also puts the body in the era of Ramsses I, who rose to the throne in 1293 B.C. and ruled for two years. His grandson, Ramsses II, was a builder and warrior believed to be the pharaoh of the Bible's Exodus story. Egyptian officials say they are satisfied the evidence establishes its royal heritage, including the location of the raided tomb, the style in which the mummy was wrapped and embalmed and its facial features. A specialist from Cairo's American University examined the mummy earlier this year.

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