UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Esoteric Egyptology, Seed Science and the Myth of Mummy Wheat

Moshenska, G; (2017) Esoteric Egyptology, Seed Science and the Myth of Mummy Wheat. Open Library of Humanities , 3 (1) pp. 1-42. 10.16995/olh.83. Green open access

[thumbnail of Moshenska_83-1007-2-PB.pdf]
Preview
Text
Moshenska_83-1007-2-PB.pdf - Published Version

Download (478kB) | Preview

Abstract

‘Mummy wheat’ allegedly grown from seeds found in the tombs or wrappings of Egyptian mummies became a scientific sensation in 1840s Britain. At a time of considerable popular interest in Ancient Egypt, mummy wheat was exhibited at the Royal Institution and the British Archaeological Association, cultivated by aristocracy and royalty, and discussed by Darwin, Faraday and others. However, the first controlled experiments on mummy wheat in the 1840s were unsuccessful, as were studies by the British Museum, the Royal Botanic Gardens and other scientific bodies in the 1890s and 1930s. Despite this growing scepticism amongst plant biologists and professional Egyptologists, belief in mummy wheat endured well into the twentieth century. This article traces the myth of mummy wheat in Britain in its intellectual and cultural contexts from its early Victorian emergence through to its mid-twentieth century decline. It focuses in particular efforts by British Museum Egyptologist E.A. Wallis Budge to debunk the myth by a variety of means, including crowd-sourcing experimental data.

Type: Article
Title: Esoteric Egyptology, Seed Science and the Myth of Mummy Wheat
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.16995/olh.83
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.16995/olh.83
Language: English
Additional information: © 2017 The Author(s). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1542321
Downloads since deposit
165Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item