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Yes, size matters: Green Giant sarcophagus wows at Houston Museum of Natural Science unveiling
The Houston Museum of Natural Science is preparing to unveil its 10,000-square-foot Hall of Ancient Egypt at the end of May, but on Wednesday, curator of anthropology Dr. Dirk Van Tuerenhout and consulting curator Tom Hardwick introduced the press to the first of its new residents.
A remarkably preserved artifact carved from sycamore wood, the sarcophagus of Gemshuankh, a priest of the god Herishef, dates back to the Ptolemaic period. The sarcophagus has been nicknamed the "Green Giant" for its brightly-painted face (symbolic of rebirth) and its length (a whopping 10 feet).
"Size has always mattered throughout human history," explained Hardwick, noting that the Egyptian priest's colossal commemoration was a status symbol for the afterlife.
In addition to museum officials, a couple of young Egyptology enthusiasts were on-hand for the big reveal: Seven-year-old Abby Myers and 9-year-old Jacob Blackman, the lucky winners of the HMNS Kid Curators program.
"Oh my gosh, I'm next to something that's 3,000 years old," said a wide-eyed Myers, who told CultureMap that her favorite female pharaoh is Hatshepsut.
Blackman appreciates Ancient Egyptian mythology and religion, but especially the culture's attention to detail — a proclivity evident in the hieroglyphs lining the ancient sarcophagus.
The HMNS Hall of Ancient Egypt opens to members on May 24 and to the general public on May 31.
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