Research Finds Ancient Egyptian Priest Updated His Coffin Throughout Life

The Fitzwilliam Museum, YouTube
The Fitzwilliam Museum, YouTube / The Fitzwilliam Museum, YouTube

Wealthy Ancient Egyptians may have updated their coffins in much the same way we now update our LinkedIn accounts, new research finds. While conducting research on a collection of Egyptian coffins acquired in 1822, scholars at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge discovered that the Egyptian priest Nes-Amun had repeatedly updated the information written on his coffin to reflect his current job title.

As his career changed, Nes-Amun would adjust the description on his coffin, explains The Art Newspaper. While this is the first instance of alterations of this kind discovered on an Egyptian coffin, Egyptologist Helen Strudwick believes there are more cases waiting to be found. “You often see the progression of job titles inscribed on tombs, especially Old Kingdom ones, but no one has reported seeing this on coffins before,” she told The Art Newspaper.

Nes-Amun’s inner coffin also shows a handprint, likely left by a craftsman in the varnish before it dried. “Through these objects, we can see artisans at work, nobles concerned about their status and the life behind the industry of death,” Apollo Magazine writes. Nes-Amun's continuously updated coffin shows not only that the Ancient Egyptians had a well-developed funerary industry, but that they were thinking about, and planning for, death throughout life.

Nes-Amun’s coffin and other Ancient Egyptian funerary artifacts will be on display at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge through May 22. Check out the teaser for their exhibit, Death on the Nile, below.

[h/t The Art Newspaper]