Copies of three ancient Egyptian cranial crochets, 1900-1938

1900-1938 in England and Ancient Egypt

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Science Museum Group Collection
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Three of four cranial crochets, copies, used for removing the brain prior to embalming, originals Egyptian, 2000-101BC

Part of the process of mummification is the removal of all of the internal organs from the body apart from the heart, which was seen as the seat of the mind and emotions. The brain was removed though the nose in a delicate operation involving hooks or cranial crochets. After removal, the brain was not placed in a canopic jar. Instead it was disposed of as it was deemed unimportant. Recent research on mummies shows that not all of the brain tissue was removed.

Henry Wellcome did his utmost to acquire objects for his collection. If unsuccessful he would seek permission to have copies made. The originals date from 2000-101 BCE.


Classical & Medieval Medicine
Object Number:
A634908 Pt1
aluminium (metal) and lead (metal)
overall (longest measured): 6 mm x 198 mm x 8 mm, 0.026 kg
cranial crochet
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • surgical equipment
  • surgical instrument
  • furnishing and equipment
  • container - receptacle
  • ceremonial container

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