About this object

Mummified kitten wrapped in bandages, with a cylindrical shaped body and naturalistic head. At only 16 cm tall this is very small for a cat mummy and until we could X-ray the mummy we were uncertain if it contained a complete animal or was empty. Radiographs taken in April 2015 revealed that there is a skeleton inside, likely to belong to a foetal or neo-natal cat, based upon size and the low density of the bones

The collector, Henrietta Gurney, donated the mummy to Norwich Castle Museum in 1828 with information suggesting it had been discovered by the famous explorer Giovani Belzoni in KV 17, the tomb of Seti I in the Valley of the Kings in 1817. For the first time the mummy was X-rayed and CT imaged at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital on 9th April 2015 as part of the University of Manchester’s Animal Bio Bank Project (object ref. no. AEABB741).

Object specifics

  • Type
    Animal Remains
  • Culture
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Africa: Northern Africa: Egypt: Thebes: Valley of the Kings
  • Date made
    30 BC - 395 AD (Roman Period)
  • Materials
    Animal; Textile
  • Location
    World Museum, Level 3, Ancient Egypt Gallery
  • Acquisition
    Purchased from the collections of Norwich Castle Museum
  • Collector
    Giovanni Battista Belzoni
  • Place collected
    Africa: Northern Africa: Egypt: Thebes: Valley of the Kings
  • Date collected
  • Measurements
    50 mm x 45 mm x 160 mm
  • Related people
    Giovanni Battista Belzoni ( Collector, previous owner); Henrietta Gurney ( Collector, previous owner); Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery ( Previous owner)

Explore related


  • Gifts for the Gods: Animal Mummies Revealed

    Start date: 2015-10-08
    End date: 2015-10-08
    Description: This fascinating exhibition explores ancient Egyptian animal mummies, prepared in their millions as votive offerings to the gods. Discover the background behind this religious practice in the context of life in ancient Egypt and the environment in which the animals lived. Featuring mummified specimens such as jackals, crocodiles, cats and birds, the exhibition will also include a recreation of a subterranean animal catacomb, creating an immersive and atmospheric experience. Using animal mummies from a variety of UK collections, the exhibition will also look at the use of science, such as CT imaging, to learn more about the subject. World Museum has worked on this exhibition in partnership with Manchester Museum, Glasgow Museums and The University of Manchester. The touring exhibition will be hosted at three cities - Manchester: 8 October 2015 2016 - 17 April 2016 Glasgow: May 2016 - June 2016 Liverpool:14 October 2016 - 26 February 2017


Previous owners

Object view = Humanities
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