A few people asked me what I was going to do during our three-day weekend (at my school, the students have Friday off since it was Staff Learning Day) and I told them about going to see mummies. (Not that I actually saw any, but that's what I had expected to see) There is an exhibit going on at De Young Museum in San Francisco, called Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs. It started in June 27 of this year and ends on March 28 in 2010, so it's a pretty long exhibit. It seems not many people my age are particularly interested in archaeology, though. It's disappointing. According to my mother, the people in the area where I live don't love the arts and history as much as they should. That's why we don't have famous musicians from the area or good ballet troupes and orchestras... So you have to go to San Francisco to find the better museums.
I really would've liked to take some photos, but you're not allowed to take photographs in the exhibit. In fact, everyone pays more money to go to the exhibit, unlike the usual De Young exhibits (if you have membership, you can go in free! But not this time. Members get a discount, though). I suppose the artifacts are quite valuable and fragile. After all, they are from thousands of years ago...And yet some of them still look to be in good shape. I heard there were mummified fetuses that had been found and I thought that sounded really disgusting. And the fact that the brains of a dead person are removed with a hook through a person's nose is kind of disturbing too. Luckily you don't actually have to see that.
I was disappointed that the real King Tut coffin was not at the exhibit, though there was an animation showing the layers of the coffin. It reminds me of those Russian dolls that look like this.
If you remove the coffin layer by layer, you start out with a box, then another box, and another box, and then eventually to the actual person-shaped coffins, which also contain multiple layers, and finally you reach the dead person inside. So that's why I thought of the Russian dolls when I saw the animation.
There was a mummy coffin at the exhibit, though. It just wasn't Tut's. It was bigger than I thought. I would have liked to open it but practically everything is in glass cases.
I read an article about Tut which was free for the taking at the museum. Tut's lineage is a bit of a mystery. It is rumored that he is the son of the previous king, Akhenaten (his real name was Amenhotep but he changed it when he decided to change the religion of Egypt) and one of the king's wives, Kiya. Akhenaten had another, more famous wife called Nefertiti who might've been jealous enough of Kiya to have banished or killed her. Sort of reminds me of the Romans plotting to kill each other before.
By the way, let me explain why I said "kings of the valley"...It's because many of the Egyptian kings were buried in a valley named The Valley of the Kings. (Pretty obvious name, eh?)