By Talbert Toole
The University of Mississippi Museum was recently featured on the Travel Channel’s “Mysteries at the Museum,” which features Don Wildman visiting a variety of museums across the United States to unveil the legends of certain artifacts.
The episode, “Saving Private Lynch: Gulf Breeze UFO and I Would Walk 5000 Miles,” dives into the speculation of UFO sightings in Florida along with the UM museum’s Amazon pyxis—a small cylindrical box with a lid. They are often ornate boxes that belonged to women in ancient times and stored intimate items such as makeup, jewelry, or perfume, according to collections manager Melanie Antonelli.
Antonelli said it is not uncommon to see Amazons on pottery but to see them on such a personal, feminine object is interesting since the life of an Amazon would have been the antithesis of the female owner of this box.
The museum’s pyxis, which has an Amazon using the lasso in battle on horseback, is the only known example of this scene in the world.
“The segment on Mysteries in the Museum doesn’t elaborate further, but the depiction of lasso in Greek Art is exceptionally rare,” Antonelli said.
The museum was first contacted by one of the writers of the show last spring with interest in the specific artifact. The show was currently working on a segment highlighting Amazons, said Kate Wallace, communications coordinator.
The crew was a team of three who filmed at the university as their last location in their period of travels. The team worked with Antonelli, who was responsible for handling the pyxis during production, last week. Antonelli said although it was a long day of filming, it did give her time to chat with the crew while covering the pyxis.
“It was during this time we were able to chat about their travels and backgrounds as we sat in the dark together, as their cinematographer perfected the set-up,” she said.
Antonelli said the crew lives interesting lives and shares the same passion for art, history and museums as she does. She hopes to have them return for another story on one of the museum’s pieces.
The episode featuring the UM Museum, “Saving Private Lynch: Gulf Breeze UFO and I Would Walk 5000 Miles”, will air again on Wednesday, Jan. 9 at 6 p.m. on the Travel Channel. The episode is also available on demand (depending on your cable provider) and on Amazon Prime Video (Season 23, Episode 2).