At 7:30 p.m. local time on Sunday a fire tore through the 200-year-old Museu Nacional in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
The museum is Brazil’s answer to blockbuster western museums like London’s British Museum, or the Smithsonian in Washington. Its deputy director, Luiz Fernando Dias Duarte, said: “There will be absolutely nothing left of the National Museum. The country’s 200-year history has been burned.”
Here are the most revered and priceless items which are likely lost in the blaze:
The pride and joy of the Museu Nacional is this 12,000 year-old skeleton. Popularly known as “Luzia,” she is the oldest human remains in all of the Americas.
Source: Museu Nacional
The Guardian wrote that the museum held one of the best collections of indigenous literature and artefacts in the world, which includes rare items from the Inca pre-Colombian period.
Brazil’s National Museum kept one of the best collections of indigenous literature and artefacts in the world. “This is the greatest loss of indigenous writing in Latin America”, said Urutau Guajajara as he looked on at the fire. “Our memory has been erased”.
— jonathanwatts (@jonathanwatts) September 3, 2018
From contemporary native populations the museum had striking feather art by the Karajás people, as well as examples of ceramics.
Only about 3,000 of the Karajás survive, living in a few dozen villages in central Brazil.
Source: The Guardian
The museum has the largest collection of Egyptian archaeology in Latin America. More than 700 pieces, but this are likely destroyed. This includes the coffin of Sha-Amun-In-Su, a singer-priestess who lived in Egypt around 800 BC.
There are also numerous human mummies, and a small collection of animal mummies (cats, ibis, fish and crocodile puppies).
The museum also had a native collection of dinosaur skeletons from the Sertao region in northeastern Brazil. They have dozens of dinosaur bones, some unique.
The Sertao region was once sea many millions of years ago.
Source: BBC Brazil
The collection includes a Pterodactyl (Pterosaur) skeleton with an 8.2m wingspan. It is Brazil’s largest flying reptile relic.
Also feared lost in the fire is the largest dinosaur skeleton ever assembled in Brazil, the Maxakalisaurus topai – the animal was typical of the Prata region.
Another valuable artifact inside is the Meteor Bendegó, the largest meteor ever found in Brazil – weighing 5,260kg.
It was found in 1784 in the state of Bahia. Given that it survived a fall from space, there is more hope of rescuing this artefact than most.
Also threatened are large quantities of “pre-Colombian” relics from the Incas, who flourished between 1430 and 1532 AD.
At its height, the Inca domain extended over a million square kilometers, with different ethnic groups that numbered about 12 million people.
Source: Museu Nacional
The museum also has around 56,000 fossilized plants and animals.
BBC Brazil called it: “One of the most significant palaeontological collections of Latin America.”
The collection of Greek, Etruscan and Roman items – 750 – make it the largest in Latin America.
…The rooms full of indigenous Brazilian pottery are also feared lost in the blaze.
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