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Last Updated: Friday, 15 February 2008, 13:25 GMT
Doubt over museum mummy displays
Lindow man
Lindow Man was found near Wilmslow in Cheshire in 1984
Manchester Museum could remove its display of ancient Egyptian mummies, if people decide it is disrespectful.

Museum bosses are debating the ethics of showing human remains as part of the Egyptology collection and want to hear public opinion on the issue.

The consultation comes as the museum prepares to show Lindow Man, an Iron Age man found in a Cheshire peat bog.

It also follows controversy stirred up by the arrival of the Body Worlds 4 exhibition at another city museum.

The Gunther Von Hagens display at the Museum of Science and Industry drew criticism from the Bishop of Manchester.

The bishop's belief that the human body should be treated with more respect sparked the debate at Manchester Museum.

Bosses have been consulting academics and other groups on the issues surrounding exhibits including human remains and whether they should be on display in museums.

Respectful display

It means the museum's Egyptology collection, which contains a number of mummified bodies, could be redisplayed or, if people feel strongly enough, removed.

A spokeswoman said: "We are starting a public consultation to find out what people think about the display of human remains... with the eventual outcome being that we can display them in a respectful way, and that people are prepared for what they will encounter."

Malcolm Chapman, head of collections development, told BBC News that removal remained an option.

Manchester Museum mummy
The museum has a number of mummies on display

"If our consultation process shows there isn't an appropriate way to display the dead in a sensitive and informative way then it is an option that we will not display them," he said.

The forthcoming exhibition of Lindow Man has been designed to ensure that anyone who does not actually want to see the 2,000-year-old body can bypass the remains.

Lindow Man was found in a marsh near Lindow Moss, Cheshire in 1984.

It is being moved from London to the Manchester Museum, on long-term loan, and will be displayed from April.

The Museum has more than 1,700 items of human remains, ranging from objects made of human bone to complete human mummies, featuring in a number of different collections.

Anyone with an opinion on the human remains policy debate should contact the museum.

Museum visitors' views on the mummies

Bishop condemns corpse exhibition
05 Feb 08 |  Manchester
Iron Age 'David Beckham' unmasked
19 Jan 06 |  Scotland
Iron Age 'bog bodies' unveiled
07 Jan 06 |  Science/Nature


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