Mummified human arm

Accession Number
Current Location
In storage
Object Type
Organic remains, Human, Human mummy, Element of mummy
Late Period
Ashes | Metals/alloys (Gold)
Length: 410mm | Width: 100mm
Number of Elements

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A mummified human left arm with a section of the bone missing. There are remains of gold leaf still attached to it. Finger and toe-stalls were fitted to high ranking mummies from the Twenty-sixth to the Thirtieth Dynasties (Taylor 2001, 58). The arm has an interesting more recent history before finally ending up in the Egypt Centre. The Western Mail (2nd April 1993) reports: "Police and university officials were out on a limb yesterday in a row over a missing arm. University College Swansea student John Taylor landed himself in police custody last November after a severed arm was found in his lodgings in Gwydr Crescent, Uplands, Swansea. John aged 25, had innocently picked up the arm amongst other ancient relics on a beach on Gower. But police began a murder hunt after the grisly find and John was arrested at his home in Essex and held for two days. The nightmare ended after the mistake was realised but John claims his girlfriend left him thinking he was 'a killer'. He was released after experts discovered the arm was not two years old as originally thought - but came from a 2,500-year old Egyptian mummy. Now John - who is at his Essex home during college holiday time-is asking for the ancient limb to be returned to him. A South Wales Police spokesperson said yesterday she had no idea where the missing limb was. It is understood the arm was taken by train and car to the British Museum in London but John was told the limb was then given to the classics and ancient history department at University College Swansea. Yesterday College Registrar Mr John Barnes said, "We do not keep arms here. I have never heard anything about this limb". The arm, covered in bandages and with the remains of finger bones sticking out, was discovered by John along with old axe heads and flints - he sold off most of the objects to an antiques dealer. Student John's solicitor Wendy Lewis said yesterday she would fight to get the arm back for her client - but the process could be expensive."


J Taylor, 2001. Death and the Afterlife, p58

Other Identity
W1312 (previous number no longer used for this object)
Previous Owner
Sir Henry Solomon Wellcome (1853–1936)
Assumed long-term loan, The Wellcome Trust (15 Feb 1971)
Last modified: 22 Mar 2021

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