EXCLUSIVE: Barnsley… Valley of T’ut Kings as Egyptian mummy is dug up

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David Paul

WHEN it comes to bragging the people of Barnsley haven’t had too much to shout about – until now.

The South Yorkshire town famously gave the nation union firebrand Arthur Scargill, cricket umpire Dickie Bird and chat show host Michael Parkinson of course, not to mention comedian Harry Worth.

EXCLUSIVE Barnsley... Valley of T'ut Kings as Egyptian mummy is dug up

And back in 1977 it was the first place in the UK to get a bottle bank to recycle glass.

But now it turns out Barnsley has enjoyed a secret and barely believable past.

It has just been revealed that around 2,000 years ago it was home to ancient Egyptians and there may even be mummies buried beneath the streets.

Mummy, Barnsley, Discovered, Yorkshire, Egyptian, Britain, Queen Nefertiti, LuxorIt appears that Barnsley was home to many ancient Egyptians

Mummies in Yorkshire, how good does it get?

Egyptologist Joann Fletcher

Stunned archaeologists have found a mummy cast which covered the embalmed, linen-wrapped body of a child who was buried around 300AD.

They say it proves that embalming and mummifying customs took place in South Yorkshire.

They have also uncovered bronze statues of Egyptian gods.

Forensic tests on ancient human bones found in the area have proved that some of those buried around Barnsley in ancient times had been born and raised in North Africa.

Mummy, Barnsley, Discovered, Yorkshire, Egyptian, Britain, Queen Nefertiti, Luxor

The gypsum mummy cast is among a selection of exhibits now on show

It is believed the first Egyptian settlers ended up in and around Barnsley of all places thanks to their habit of following the Roman Army on its all-conquering rampage across Europe, arriving in Britain in 43AD.

“Mummies in Yorkshire, how good does it get?” said Egyptologist Joann Fletcher, a professor of archaeology at the University of York.

“You don’t think 2,000 years ago ancient Egyptians came to Yorkshire, but they did.”

Due to Yorkshire’s damp climate, the Egyptians living there wrapped the bodies of their dead in linen and then encased the corpse in a layer of gypsum plaster.

Delighted by the discovery of the mummy cast from the child’s grave, Professor Fletcher, who was part of the expedition which claimed to have found the mummy of Egypt’s Queen Nefertiti in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor in 2003, is now dreaming of finding a fully preserved mummy somewhere near Barnsley, but fears it could a decade of digging to find.

Mummy, Barnsley, Discovered, Yorkshire, Egyptian, Britain, Queen Nefertiti, LuxorIf things had been different we could have ended up with the pyramids in Yorkshire rather than Egypt

“We’ve only just started looking to be honest, because until very recently who knew these existed?” she said.

“There’s certainly evidence that Romans in our part of the world were embalming and wrapping in linen their dead, according to Egyptian customs.

“Analysis on some bones shows these individuals were born and raised in North Africa.

“That’s a scientific fact so it really does widen horizons, in some ways it blows your mind.

Mummy, Barnsley, Discovered, Yorkshire, Egyptian, Britain, Queen Nefertiti, LuxorBy eck! What would Dickie Bird make of the news! [GETTY]

“There is evidence around Thurnscoe of burial pits and more work needs to be done because this is just the tip of the iceberg. Come back in 10 years.”

The gypsum mummy cast from the child’s grave is among a selection of exhibits now on show at the Experience Barnsley Museum in Barnsley Town Hall.

Egypt became part of the Roman Empire when Mark Antony and his lover Cleopatra, the last pharaoh, were defeated at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC.

One of the silver coins minted in Rome to pay the legionnaires who fought in that historic victory has been found in Darfield, just outside Barnsley.

Source: express.co.uk

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