When Margaret Webster and I go off on a grand adventure there is no telling where we might end up and what weird bit will be in front of us. And this trip hosted a couple of weird bits, including a nearly 4000 year old mummy’s grave.
The grave is located in West Cemetery in Middlebury Vermont. Other than being next to the campus of the Middlebury College Museum of Art and it’s unique inhabitant, there is nothing to really recommend it.
Which brings us to the mummy, young Amun-Her-Khepesh-Ef.
The lad’s sad remains came to these shores to be part of a Cabinet of Curiosities operated by Henry Sheldon. The mummy was in such poor shape it never went on display, instead landing in the attic (or equivalent thereof).
Decades later, the curator of the museum that grew from the Cabinet, one George Mead by name, not to be confused with the union general, discovered young, or rather very old, Khepi’s bedraggled remains.
I’m am going to peg George as a kind, decent man. Why? Because he donated part of his own family plot to be a resting place and a memorial. Cremated him, as just burying a mummy in a college town didn’t strike him as awfully bright. George then tagged a stone with the boy’s own religious symbology (Life and Soul), and then converted him to Christianity. Best to cover all the bases in matters eternal.
I’ve since often wondered at how that rolled in the Egyptian Afterlife.
“Yo, Khepi. There’s this angel here to collect you and your shit. Says your ass belongs to Jesus now. Paperworks in order. You gotta go bro. Been real.”
There you go. How a mummy landed in Vermont.
Historical Note: Senusret (Sen Woset) III was a 12th dynasty pharaoh (Egypt’s Middle Kingdom period) who ruled from 1878 BC to 1839 BC and is not recorded as having a wife of this name. The timing of KHEPI’s death would be consistent with the reign of Senusret II. SO our poor mummy’s parentage is suspect without further study, of the which I am disinclined at this moment. Henry Sheldon bought a mail order mummy in the 19th century. I doubt there was much in the way of provenance.
From the Biblical viewpoint senusret III may have been the pharoah who elevated joseph of the technicolor dreamcoat.
AMUN-Her-Khepeshef (AmuN’s Strong Right Arm) was also the name of the firstborn son of Ramses II, who died before taking the throne.