The HMNS Soon-To-Be Open Ancient Egypt Exhibit Gets A New Addition

Gemshuankh, who "was a priest of the ram-headed god Herishef."
The Houston Museum of Natural Science has welcomed the newest addition to the hall of ancient Egypt. It's a giant sarcophagus, or coffin that served as the final resting place for a priest.

The burial vault of Gemshuankh dates back to about 200 BC. At more than 9 feet long, this sarcophagus made of sycamore, stands out for its large size and green face.

Tom Hardwick is consulting curator who's helping to build up the Houston Museum of Natural Science's own collection of Egyptian artifacts. He says they're having fund trying to decipher the inscriptions which he says are cryptic.

"What we do know for sure, is that he was a priest of the ram-headed god Herishef, who was in charge of a city about 100 miles south of modern Cairo. Gemshuankh had the status to be buried for eternity in this 9 foot wooden coffin."

He says the distinctive green face symbolizes resurrection.

Dirk Van Tuerenhout is curator of anthropology. He says HMNS has partnered with museums around the world for a "permanent changing" display of items, that date back more than 5,000 years. He adds the sarcophagus and other artifacts going into the exhibit, represent a glimpse of what life was like for the ancient Egyptians.

"This is probably in the southwest one of the largest displays on ancient Egypt, presented not just from an art perspective, but also from the archaeological context of who were these people that built and did all these things."

The 10,000 square foot Ancient Egypt Hall officially opens May 24.

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Pat Hernandez

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Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...