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Science Versus Rumour: Artefaction and Counter-Narrative in the Egyptian Rooms of the British Museum

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Stories of the mummy's curse persist, despite efforts of the enlightened museum to dismiss these tales as superstition. This article follows the story of one particular “cursed” artefact in the British Museum, using archives and other resources to reconstruct the “true” story behind the circulated rumour. The paper concludes that the mummy's curse is a displaced account of the violence of colonial and museal appropriation of objects, a counter-narrative of historical things that resist dispossession by the process of artefaction undertaken by museums.
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Keywords: British Museum; Mummy's Curse; Museum Studies; Rumour; Superstition

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2012

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