The term mummy is 'dehumanising' and should no longer be used, museum says in bid to protect ancient Egyptians

21 January 2023, 16:31 | Updated: 21 January 2023, 17:31

The museum now refers to mummies as 'mummified remains'
The museum now refers to mummies as 'mummified remains'. Picture: Alamy

By Adam Solomons

Mummified ancient Egyptian remains should no longer be called 'mummies' as the term is outdated and 'dehumanising', a leading museum has said.

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London's British Museum and National Museums Scotland no longer use the term, preferring "mummified person" or "mummified remains" as a politically correct alternative.

A National Museums Scotland spokesperson said: "Where we know the name of an individual we use that, otherwise we use 'mummified man, woman, boy, girl or person' because we are referring to people, not objects.

"The word 'mummy' is not incorrect, but it is dehumanising, whereas using the term 'mummified person' encourages our visitors to think of the individual."

It comes as British Museum chair George Osborne is reportedly in talks with Greek museum leaders to return the controversial Elgin Marbles.

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The term 'mummy' has been used to refer to preserved remains since around 1615.

It is thought to have originated from the Arabic word 'mummiya', which translates to 'bitumen', a balming substance.

Great North Museum curator Jo Anderson also told The Daily Mail: "Legends about the mummy's curse and movies portraying supernatural monsters [...] can undermine their humanity."

Campaign for Real Education chairman Chris McGovern said: 'The curse of the mummy is driving these academics mad!'

A British Museum spokesman told the paper: "Displays and exhibitions have emphasised that mummified remains are of people who once lived."

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