Feared to have been lost Brazil’s ir­re­place­able arte­facts

The Guardian Weekly - - International news - Fossi Martin Be­lam

Luzia Wo­man

Luzia Wo­man was found in a cave in Brazil in 1975 by the French ar­chae­ol­o­gist An­nette Lam­ing-Em­peraire. About 11,500 years old, she was be­lieved to be the old­est hu­man skele­ton found in the Amer­i­cas. Some an­thro­pol­o­gists say Luzia’s an­ces­tors were from south-east Asia.

Mum­mi­fied re­mains

The mu­seum’s col­lec­tion in­cluded a rare Brazil­ian ex­am­ple of mum­mi­fied bod­ies, of a wo­man and two chil­dren, which were do­nated to Em­peror Dom Pedro II, the last monarch of the Em­pire of Brazil. The wo­man, found in Goianá, ianá, was aged about 25, and died ied 600 years be­fore Euro­peans ans ar­rived. The mu­seum was s also home to 700 items from Egypt, in­clud­ing the e cof­fin of Sha-Amun-emsu (pic­tured), an un­opened wooden painted cof­fin from Thebes, dated to around 750BC.

In­dige­nous art and arte­facts

Art and ob­jects from Brazil’s in­dige­nous peo­ples tell the tale not just of the peop peo­ple who lived on the con­ti­nent, but of how they were oc­cup oc­cu­pied by Euro­peans.

Fos­sil records

“A pa palaeon­to­log­i­cal paradi dise”, the Sertão re­gion h has been par­tic­u­larly rich in fos­sils, en­rich­ing the mu­seum with a large col­lec­tion. Fos­silised tur­tles from 110m years ago are the old­est in the coun­try.

Fres­coes from Pom­peii

These sur­vived the erup­tion of Mount Ve­su­vius; one de­pict­ing two pea­cocks perched on chan­de­liers.

Sci­en­tific li­brary

This con­tained nearly half a mil­lion vol­umes. Re­ports sug­gested that peo­ple were find­ing burnt pages in the streets around the mu­seum.

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