Controversy Erupts In Mexico After Museum Staff Accidentally Break Arm Off 19th-Century Mummy

Controversy erupts in Mexico after museum worker accidentally breaks arm of 19th century mummy

During recent renovations at the museum, an arm from one of the mummies became detached.

Controversy has erupted at a museum in Guanajuato, Mexico, after staff there allegedly mishandled a 19th century mummy. MashableAccording to the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), the arm of one of the mummies fell off during recent renovations to the museum where the mummified remains are permanently displayed. The body was reportedly buried in the early 1800s and exhumed in the 1860s.

The incident has sparked a dispute between Mexico’s Federal Archaeological Service and the Guanajuato state government over the treatment of the country’s mummified remains.

“These events confirm that the way the museum moved its collection was inappropriate and, far from applying appropriate remedial and preservation strategies, the actions taken have caused damage not only to the museum but also to other organizations,” the institute said in a statement.

“This situation appears to be related to a lack of knowledge of proper procedures and inadequate training of those carrying out these tasks,” it continued.

The preserved bodies, some with their leathery skin, hair and original clothing still intact, were unintentionally mummified when they were buried in ossuaries in the dry, mineral-rich environment of Guanajuato state, known for its mining industry, PTI reported.

The institute is now demanding an explanation of what permits and procedures were followed during the museum’s renovation, citing a lack of knowledge and training among staff.

INAH believes it has jurisdiction because the mummies are “national heritage” and the state of Guanajuato considers them a tourist attraction. Due to alleged improper handling, the institute is calling for greater involvement in the storage and display of 100 mummies in a museum administered by the Guanajuato state government.

Specifically, a mummy is a person or animal whose body has been desiccated or otherwise preserved after death. The practice of mummifying bodies is widespread throughout the world and throughout history.