Ankylosing spondylitis is a systemic disease that causes inflammation in the spinal joints and was thought to have affected members of the ancient Egyptian royal families. Now a new study published in Arthritis & Rheumatology, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), refutes that claim, finding instead a degenerative spinal condition called diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH) in royal Egyptian mummies from the 18th to early 20th Dynasties.
Ankylosing spondylitis is a member of a group of inflammatory conditions called the spondyloarthropathies that cause arthritis and affect up to 2.4 million Americans over the age of 15 according to the ACR. The most common in this rheumatic disease family is ankylosing spondylitis, which causes pain and stiffness in the back, and may lead to bony fusion of the spine. Read more.
A mummy rolled down hospital hallways here on Sunday. Amen-Nestawy-Nakht, a 3,000-year-old Egyptian priest, was getting a CAT scan at Barnes-Jewish. It was probably his second. The last one was a couple of decades ago, when technology wasn’t what it is now.
A team of art museum officials and university doctors hoped this round could reveal new information: His cause of death. New data on his health. And, perhaps, a few artifacts left inside the cartonnage - that elaborately painted hardened wrapping that often covers a mummy’s body - after grave robbers made off with the bulk of the valuables, probably thousands of years ago. Read more.
On 2nd February 1925, the photographer from the Harvard-Boston archaeological expedition was setting up his camera tripod on the rocky plateau of Giza close to the base of the Great Pyramid. Having some degree of difficulty in his attempt to get the legs on an equal footing, he dislodged what he assumed was a small piece of limestone, but which closer inspection revealed to be a fragment of plaster, the kind of plaster traditionally used in ancient times to seal up the entrance of a tomb.
With the same archaeological team having already made a series of spectacular discoveries at Giza over the previous 20 years, most notably a large group of superb statues of King Menkaure, builder of Giza’s third pyramid, this new discovery was so unexpected the excavation director George Reisner was still in the US. So the task of opening the tomb fell to his British assistant Alan Rowe and his Egyptian head foreman Said Ahmed Said, whose removal of the plaster covering revealed a 100 foot vertical shaft cut down into the limestone bedrock, filled solid with limestone masonry and yet more plaster. Read more.
The mummification technique, which is used to preserve the body after death, has been used by several different civilizations throughout history, including the mummies of Anatolia.
During antiquity and the Middle Ages (5th-15th Century), mummification was a common technique used by the Pharaohs, Incas, Aztecs and Chinchorros of northern Chile, so the dead could survive and live on in the afterlife.
Today, mummies remind us of Egypt and the pharaohs, but Anatolian mummies have a significant potential to attract tourism. The Anatolian mummies are mysterious in terms of the era they lived as well as their preservation methods. Read more.
Answers don’t come easily when the mystery is 3,000 years old. Egyptologist Melinda Nelson-Hurst has spent two years researching the Egyptian artifacts that have resided at Tulane University since 1852. Her work is yielding surprising details about two mummies, two intact coffins and funerary materials that reside in Dinwiddie Hall.
Nelson-Hurst, a research associate in the Department of Anthropology, and professor John Verano have written a scholarly paper on the topic for publication soon.
It was not known if the two coffins and two items identified as funerary masks belonged to the two mummies in the Tulane collection. All the items were donated to Tulane by an associate of George Gliddon, an antiquities collector who staged elaborate public unwrappings of mummies 160 years ago in several cities, including New Orleans. Read more.
Scientists from the Polish-Egyptian Archaeological and Preservation Mission at the Temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahari are using computed tomography and X-ray to study more than 2.5 thousand years old mummies of the priests of the god Montu.
The project began in May. The first mummies, which are currently stored in the Luxor Museum, have already been scanned. The next activities are planned in Cairo, at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC) and the Egyptian Museum.
Mummies studied by the scientists come from the tomb of the priests of the god Montu excavated in the Temple of Hatshepsut in the 1930s, nearly a thousand years after the death of the woman pharaoh the place changed its function from the temple to the burial site. Read more.
Russian archaeologists have resumed excavations in a remote site near the Arctic Circle in the attempt to understand a perplexing find of medieval mummies clad in copper masks.
Roughly 1,000 years old, the mummies were found during a series of excavations that started in 1997 in a Siberian necropolis near the village of Zeleniy Yar, at the base of a peninsula local people called “the end of the Earth.”
The archaeologists found 34 shallow graves with seven male adults, three male infants, and one female child wearing a copper mask. Buried with a hoard of artifacts, most of the bodies had shattered or missing skulls, and smashed skeletons. Read more.
The study and popular perception of Egyptian antiquities focuses too much on the unwrapping of mummies and the use of technologies such as scanning, according to an academic from the University of East Anglia.
In a new book published today, Egyptologist and former museum curator Dr Christina Riggs challenges the scientific and medical approach that has become commonplace. Unwrapping Ancient Egypt sheds light on both the past and contemporary practices of collecting, displaying and presenting ancient Egypt – and especially Egyptian mummies – in museums and the media.
"Egyptian mummies may pull crowds, but focusing on them only as bodies means we overlook what was arguably much more important from an ancient Egyptian point of view: their wrappings," said Dr Riggs, a senior lecturer in the School of Art History and World Art Studies at UEA. Read more.