Egyptian Mummies Held by Florida Customs Officials

Mummy of a young girl in a coffin Photo: Sun Sentinel

Three Egyptian mummies, which were held by customs officials at Miami International Airport, have been released. They are now being prepared to go on view at the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium, reported the Art Newspaper.

The mummies were meant to go on display on October 11, as part of the exhibition “Afterlife: Tombs and Treasures of Ancient Egypt,” which runs through April 18, 2015. The holdup occurred due to more-stringent ivory import regulations that were introduced this year to protect endangered elephants. The new measures required customs officials to conduct extensive checks on a selection of ivory artifacts which were also headed to the exhibition.

Museum staff had arranged for one of the three mummies to be examined at a local hospital to determine her cause of death. Museum director Lew Crampton told the Sun Sentinel, “This poor girl has waited 3,000 years for her doctor’s appointment…everybody is waiting.” That appointment was able to be rescheduled and doctors subsequently announced that the probable cause of death was appendicitis. One of the other mummies is reportedly the son of the well-known Egyptian Pharaoh King Ramesses II.

According to Kate Arrizza, chief operating officer of the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium, museum staff were concerned that the mummies were being kept outside of a temperature controlled environment, which could damage the extremely delicate remains. Their worries turned out to be unfounded as no damage was found when they were received by the museum.

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