The Sycamore is an American species of the plane tree Platanus. Mummy cases are mainly made from the fig tree Ficus sycomorus. The Sycomore fig is considered divine by the ancient Egyptians and animated by goddesses within. They produce a milky fluid regarded as nourishment, hence mummy coffin wood. Sustenance for the souls of the dead.
In Palestine and Syria the Sycamore fig was believed inhabited by devils due to the reddish colour of the wood symbolising blood. Museum mummy case wood is reddish. Ficus sycamore is identified with the mythical sycamore which stood on the path to the otherworld and provided food for passing souls.
The ‘sycamore of the south’ was regarded as the living body of the ancient Egyptian goddess Hathor. So the fig wood is sacred for the Egyptians who were not acquainted with the American and European plane tree! [Encyclopaedia Britannica; and Forest Folklore by Porteous, A. (1928)].
Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, 12.11.2005.