“Experts have lifted the lid on the secrets of a 3,000-year-old Egyptian coffin, part of which is held at a Kent castle.
Managers at Chiddingstone Castle have completed their quest to find the name of the person whose mummy had been interred inside the coffin, the lid from which is on display in the castle.
Egyptologist and imaging specialist at UCL Advanced Imaging Consultants and Cerys Jones, a PhD candidate in imaging applied to heritage, carried out a multispectral imaging of the coffin lid and an infrared filter was able to spell out the name on the lid, written in the pigment Egytian blue, which fluoresces in the infrared when the light is applied.
After consulting with other experts in the USA and Egypt, Dr Piquette announced that they were “relatively certain” that the person interred was called Irethoreru. Translated, the name is “The eye of Horus is against them”, a fairly common male name used between 664 BC and 30 AD.
With the help of different imaging and processing methods, the team were also able to find two figures of what appeared to be seated goddesses on either side of the central inscription.
Castle curator Maria Esain said: “Our Ancient Egyptian coffin lid that has been exhibited here for many years has undergone some careful conservation and advanced digital imaging. There is a saying from ancient Egyptian times – “To speak a man’s name is to restore him to eternal life.” Therefore, if we were able to determine the name written in hieroglyphs on the ‘foot’ of the coffin then we would be enabling that person to live forever.”
The coffin lid is now back on display in its improved display case with additional LED lighting to make the inscription more visible.
It comes a few months after experts used a CT scan to find out the age of Ta-Kush, the 2,700-year-old Egyptian mummy at Maidstone Museum.
The castle’s ancient Egyptian collection is among a number of artefacts on show at the castle, including a Japanese collection, Buddhist artefacts and a Stuart collection.
Chiddingstone Castle is open Sundays to Wednesdays and Bank Holiday Monday. For details go to chiddingstonecastle.org.uk” – via Kent Online.