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Kent Archaeological Review extract

Ushabti found at Otford.
by Clifford Ward.

In July 1971 an observant young man was for undisclosed reasons, minutely exploring a ditch in the centre of Otford village. He came upon a greenish coloured statuette which he provisionally identified as a Roman mummy!

Christopher Thomas, 10, has the makings of a scientist. He did not smash the figure, hurl it away or just hoard it with his conkers, sea shells and tea cards. Instead he passed it to the Otford and District Archaeological Group who were very happy to submit it for more expert identification. ODAG's private opinion of the object was "faience, Egyptian figurine of a type buried as a talisman with mummies", but cynicism of advancing years cast doubts on its antiquity -- "perhaps manufactured in a back room in Alexandria for P & 0 tourists who sailed through the Suez Canal (a recently abandoned waterway linking the Mediterranean with the Red Sea)."

The British Museum, however, dispelled all such doubts and pronounced it to be a shabti or ushabti figure of faience dating from the new Kingdom of Egypt (800- 500 BC) and gratified ODAG by confirming it to be from a burial. How did it get to Otford?

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