The museum officials were stumped. A statue is supposed to stand still, not rotate all by itself. But this one at the Manchester Museum seemed to have done just that. Turned around 180 degrees — revealing an inscription on its back asking for beer.
‘Prayer for the deceased’
Statuette no. 9325 doesn’t appear to go by any proper name. It’s a prefabricated figure — an off-the-shelf product — that was placed into a small tomb around 1800 B.C. A private collector in Britain donated it to the museum in 1933. The inscription on the back, requesting a sacrifice of beer, bread and animals, was a standard prayer for the deceased.
‘Only moved during the day’
For decades, the figurine stood perfectly still — until museum workers moved its case a few feet from its original position. In February, curator Campbell Price noticed something curious was afoot. The statue seemed to have slightly turned. When he looked next, it was facing another direction. A day later, another. The turns were subtle. But at the end of each day, you could tell the statue was angled differently.
In April, museum officials installed a time-lapse camera that snapped an image of the statue every minute of every day for a week. When they ran the images in fast motion, they came across a surprising revelation: the statue only moved during the day, when visitors were walking past. It seemed, Price wrote, that vibrations caused by foot traffic in room was the culprit.
Do you find this statue movement mysterious or not? What other factors could have contributed to this occurrence?
Source: Ben Brumfield | CNN
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