Research

CURRENT RESEARCH PROJECTS

Budapest Mummy Project (from 2011)

Project directors: Erzsébet Fóthi (Hungarian Natural History Museum) and Éva Liptay (Museum of Fine Arts)

The significance of modern mummy studies lies mainly in the fact that exact scientific results can only be attained by interdisciplinary cooperation, using a variety of techniques, ranging from autopsies that include histological and chemical analyses to non-destructive techniques such as radiological imaging. Non-destructive imaging plays an extremely important role in mummy studies and can be considered as a starting point to further and detailed scientific analyses.

The Egyptian collection of the Budapest Museum of Fine Arts possesses four well-preserved Egyptian mummies (two male and two female bodies) which have not yet been thoroughly studied and identified neither by Egyptological nor broader scientific methods. Until recently we had almost no information about these mummies. We launched the Budapest Mummy Project at the beginning of 2011. The first results of the programme were presented on the exhibition 'Mummies uncovered' at the Museum of Fine Arts. The second phase of the research programme began in the fall of 2011 when a scientific cooperative agreement was signed between the Museum of Fine Arts and the Hungarian Natural History Museum in order to continue the programme, and the research has been extended to Egyptian mummies preserved in other Hungarian public collections. The final results will be summarized in an English publication.

Gamhud Project (from 2009)
Project director: Katalin Kóthay

The Ptolemaic cemetery of Gamhud in Northern Middle Egypt was excavated in 1907 by an Austro-Hungarian expedition sponsored by Hungarian entrepreneur Fülöp Back and conducted by Polish Egyptologist Tadeusz Smoleński. A considerable part of the finds (coffins, mummy trappings, wooden boxes, and other funerary equipment) came to the Hungarian National Museum through the generosity of Fülöp Back. These objects were transferred to the Museum of Fine Arts in 1934.

The Department of Egyptian Antiquities has commenced a full restoration and study programme of this important material in 2009, which focuses on five main tasks: 1) cleaning and restoration of the coffins; 2) analysis of paint materials; 3) detailed stylistic study of the of the objects, with the goal being to identify artisans' hands and groups responsible for their manufacture, as well as to gain information on the organisation and working methods of the artisans; 4) study of the archival material concerning the history of the Budapest Gamhud lot; 5) study of the papyrological evidence (i.e. papyri extracted from the cartonnage trappings found on the mummies).

El-Lahun Survey Project (2008–2012)
Project director: Zoltán Horváth

Collaborators:
Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt,
Szent István University,
Department of Public Utility and Civil Engineering,
Research Institute for Visualization,
Architecture and Archaeology,
The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology,
University College London

The El-Lahun Survey Project is a multidisciplinary geoarchaeological fieldwork project applying geodesic, GIS, archaeological and remote sensing methods to study the architectural landscape of the ancient site neighbouring the modern village of el-Lahun, Fayum. The primary aim of the project is to assess and record the current state of the site as a whole, and through the utilization of data from both former and recent archaeological fieldworks to achieve a deeper understanding of the architectural landscape during different periods. Furthermore, the project is committed to carrying out a risk analysis for the archaeological remains open to deterioration, and to preparing site management plans to promote their longer-term preservation.

The project is funded by the Hungarian Scientific Research Fund (OTKA).

Fur further information, visit the project's blog.
Preliminary report on season 2009.