Archaeology Magazine Archive

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Harrogate's Hidden Treasures Volume 57 Number 6, November/December 2004

[image] (Courtesy Harrogate Museums & Arts, Harrogate Borough Council) [LARGER IMAGE]

An Egyptian vase dismissed as a fake and relegated to storage for 30 years is actually an important Predynastic artifact, according to curators at the Royal Pump Room Museum in Harrogate, England. The 5,000-year-old vase depicts what may be a burial scene, with a person curled up in a fetal position in a boat and surrounded by palm trees, an ibex, and birds.The vase dates to a time when the Egyptians had just begun mummifying their dead, making it a potentially significant discovery.

Curators at the museum, which primarily showcases Harrogate's past as a spa town for nineteenth-century aristocrats, discovered the vase while preparing an exhibition of supposed Egyptian fakes from a collection of artifacts bequeathed to the museum in 1969 by a wealthy local farmer. Having considered the vase "too good to be true," they were surprised to learn that it was genuin--as were all but one of the farmer's objects.

© 2004 by the Archaeological Institute of America