Mummified Marvels for Sale: Exploring the Unusual World of Street Vendors in Egypt

Archaeology is a field that allows us to uncover mysteries from the past, but sometimes those mysteries can be disturbing or even gruesome. Such was the case in Egypt in 1865, when reports began to emerge of street vendors selling mummies to unsuspecting tourists and locals.

The mummies being sold were not the carefully preserved bodies of pharaohs and nobles that had been buried with great care and reverence. Instead, they were often the remains of commoners, hastily mummified and removed from their original resting places to be sold as curiosities.


At the time, Egypt was in a state of political upheaval, with foreign powers vying for control and local officials struggling to maintain order. The selling of mummies was just one of the many ways that this turmoil manifested, as people looked for ways to make money in a time of great uncertainty.

Despite the questionable ethics of selling human remains as trinkets, the practice was surprisingly widespread. Street vendors would set up shop in busy markets or along popular tourist routes, displaying the mummies and hawking them to passersby. Some even went so far as to create fake mummies using animal remains and other materials.


The sale of mummies eventually became a major scandal, as the Egyptian government realized the extent of the problem and began cracking down on those involved. Laws were passed to protect ancient burial sites and prevent the removal of mummies, and punishments were handed out to those caught selling them.

Today, the sale of mummies in Egypt is illegal, and the remains of those who were once sold as souvenirs are now treated with the respect and dignity they deserve. However, the legacy of this strange and disturbing chapter in Egypt’s history remains, serving as a reminder of the darker side of human nature and the importance of preserving our past for future generations.

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