BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A young child mummified over 200 years ago has returned to the University of Maryland.
Alex DeMetrick reports it wasn’t missed until the mummy showed up on eBay.
The mummy came back to the University of Maryland’s medical school in the mail after police found it in Michigan where a woman had put it up for auction on eBay. How it got there is unknown, as is its sex.
“Eight. Maybe eight years old. Seven or eight,” said Ronn Wade, director of anatomical services.
Wade says it went missing “probably somewhere between the 1870s and the 1950s.”
A Scottish anatomist named Allen Burns mummified parts and whole bodies 200 years ago. In 1820, a colleague brought the collection to the University of Maryland. It won Granville Sharp Pattison a teaching job.
“It was very rare to have a collection, his own specimens like that. No one else had that so there was a big interest to have it,” Wade said.
Now medical students can study cyber cadavers, as well as real ones. Two centuries ago, it meant robbing graves.
“It was students. They got kind of a better deal if they came up with their own teaching specimens,” he said.
State-of-the-art meant curing with salt and sugar, while internal organs and arteries were cast in place. The only ID in the collection was a 200-year-old tattoo.
Who the child was will never be known but returning here is a kind of homecoming.
“He’s back with his family. He’s not going to wander away anymore. I’m glad to see this specimen back because it compliments the other specimens that go with it,” Wade said.
The mummy was found when an old building was demolished in Detroit. Police have not filed any charges.