Mummified Crocodile



Mummy of a complete and articulated crocodile well wrapped and modelled in brown and undyed linen bandages. The arrangement of the bandages, in geometrical patterns using interlaced dyed strips of material, follows a style which is common in the Ptolemaic and Romano-Egyptian periods, suggesting the mummy was made in about the 1st century AD. The crocodile was the sacred animal of the god Sobek and cult temples reared large numbers of crocodiles for mummification. X-rays and CT scans showed a complete crocodile with two baby crocodiles on its back, and a tooth and scale of a much larger crocodile. The mummy was X-rayed in 1995 for the exhibition, "Caught in Time" (1996-2005) at National Museums Liverpool’s Conservation Centre, the first permanent UK exhibition dedicated to explaining the work of museum conservators. X-rays identified the presence of two juvenile crocodiles placed on the back of the primary individual and what appears to be a tooth of a larger crocodile. It was included in the Ancient Egyptian Animal Bio Bank Project (2015) for radiographic analysis (X-ray and CT scanning), specimen no. AEABB743. The radiograph report noted “the skull is presented in a slightly elevated position, possibly due to fracture and curvature of the spine. The skull appears complete with no signs of fatal trauma. An osteoderm from a larger crocodile is visible on top of the primary individual in line with the front limbs. A packet of bones has been tucked under one of the rear limbs”. Presented to the Museum by Joseph Mayer in 1867. Mayer had purchased it from the collection formed by George Annesley, 9th Viscount Valentia, 2nd Earl of Mountnorris, (1770-1844) at the sale held at Arley Castle in December 1852.