Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Experts unlock Montrose Museum’s ancient Egyptian mystery

Dr Daniel Potter with the Montrose museum statue.
Dr Daniel Potter with the Montrose museum statue.

An ancient Egyptian mystery has been cracked ahead of the opening of a new touring exhibition from National Museums Scotland in Angus this weekend.

Curators examined a limestone statue which has been in the collection at Montrose museum since 1837 and concluded it was an “exquisite” sculpture of a female temple musician called Meramuniotes, who lived between 332-30 BC.

The back of the statue is inscribed with a long, hieroglyphic text which has been fully translated for the first time. It discusses Meramuniotes’ family, her role in the temple and her wishes for the afterlife.

Her parents, siblings and descendants were all involved in the temple priesthood of ancient Thebes, and the inscription explains she played the sistrum – a percussion instrument – in the temple of Amun-Ra.

Her mother, Nehemesratawy, held the same role, and the two women may have worked together. Statues commemorating other members of her family can be found in museums in Cairo, Turin and London.

It was donated to the newly formed museum in 1837 by Montrose-born Dr James Burnes, a relative of Robert Burns, who worked as the physician general for Bombay (Mumbai).

After being sent on sick leave suffering from malaria, he travelled home to Scotland via Egypt in 1834 and collected the statue during his visit.

Dr Daniel Potter, assistant curator for the Revealing Cultures Project at National Museums Scotland said it was one of the finest examples of Ptolemaic  –  statuary depicting a non-royal individual – in the UK.

He said: “Not only it is beautifully carved but it shares an amazing connection with Montrose. Until recently, rather little was known about it. Now, by working with our colleagues at Montrose Museum to explore their collections, we have been able to reveal some of the secrets of this remarkable object.

“Through this work, we have established how unique the statue is, and to put a name to the person it depicts and learn more about her and her relatives. It is a wonderful chance to connect with a family from over 2,000 years ago.”

Meramuniotes’ statue will be displayed as part of the Discovering Ancient Egypt exhibition, which brings together objects from the collections of National Museums Scotland and each of the three touring venues – in Hawick, Montrose and Cumnock.

It explores Scotland’s contribution to Egyptology through the lives of three people – an- archaeologist, artist and astronomer – whose work in the field helped to improve our understanding of ancient Egyptian culture; Alexander Henry Rhind (1833-1863), Annie Pirie Quibell (1862-1927) and Charles Piazzi Smyth (1819-1900).

ANGUSalive has received funding from Museums Galleries Scotland, Montrose Heritage Trust and a private donor to display the statue of Meramuniotes in a new  case.

Caroline Taylor, Museum Officer at Montrose Museum, said: “We are delighted that we will have the chance to showcase the statue of Meramuniotes and highlight her story, as well as how the statue was brought to Montrose, in an engaging way for our visitors.”

The Discovering Ancient Egypt tour will be at Montrose Museum from June 8 to September 7.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]