History August 22, 2018 at 11:00 am

This mummified Egyptian arm found on a Wales beach has baffled the world since 1992

Farida Dawkins | Contributor

Farida Dawkins August 22, 2018 at 11:00 am

August 22, 2018 at 11:00 am | History

In November 1992, a student from Gower, Wales came across an artifact on a beach in a neigboring area that would later get him arrested on suspicion of murder.

A clipping from the Western Mail (1993)…Egypt Centre

According to Wales Online, the 25-year-old student, John Taylor of Gwydr Crescent, Uplands, Swansea, Wales, was in need of some fast cash.

That day in November when he found the arm and other ancient vestiges that were reminiscent of animal bones, he may have thought he struck it big.

However, his find coincided with a murder investigation and he was arrested in Essex, England and detained for two days. His girlfriend left him when she found the arm and thought he was a murderer.

Image of the mummified arm…Egypt Centre, Swansea

It turns out, the arm was a mummified Egyptian arm from circa 747-332 BC.

After investigations, it was determined that the arm belonged to a woman and had remnants of gold leaf emblazoned on it. There is now little gold left on it due to excessive flaking. It is 41 cm long and 10 cm wide.

In a 1992 Evening Post article it stated, “ A severed forearm discovered in a Swansea back garden was today being taken to the British Museum in London for more expert examination. As yet there is no firm conclusion as to the age of the limb.”

It was suspected that the arm was part of an old collection before it was thrown away, or stolen and later castoff.

The woman’s arm was assumed to be part of the original Wellcome Trust donation to the Egypt Centre, though the origin is still not 100 per cent known.

The relic wasn’t probably housed until 2000, which contributed to its extensive damage.

The artifact is preserved as annotated in the procedures in the ‘Guidance for the care of human remains in museums’ issued by DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport). According to the Egypt Centre.

Carolyn Graves-Brown, the curator for the Egypt Centre in Swansea commented: “We aren’t entirely sure where the arm came from, it could have been stolen from the Centre, but we have no documentation for it.

“It was very common in the Victorian ages to have collections of this nature, that was the trend so later on perhaps someone found it and decided to dispose of it.”

“As far as we know it’s the only relic of ancient Egypt ever found in Swansea, and it remains here at the centre.”

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