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.
Our fascination with mummies never gets old. Now the British Museum is using the latest technology to unwrap their ancient mysteries.
Scientists at the museum have used CT scans and sophisticated imaging software to go beneath the bandages, revealing skin, bones, preserved internal organs—and in one case a brain-scooping rod left inside a skull by embalmers.
The findings go on display next month in an exhibition that sets eight of the museum’s mummies alongside detailed three-dimensional images of their insides and 3-D printed replicas of some of the items buried with them.
Bio-archaeologist Daniel Antoine said Wednesday that the goal is to present these long-dead individuals “not as mummies but as human beings.” Read more.
Hospital scans help British Museum discover the secrets Egyptians took to their grave, including one woman’s intimate tattoo
Wrapped in bandages and caricatured as figures of terror in Hollywood movies, Egypt’s mummies have long captivated and bewildered scientists and children alike.
Now a new exhibition at the British Museum will disclose the human side of the mummies of the Nile.
Eight have been – scientifically speaking – stripped bare revealing secrets taken to the grave thousands of years ago.
Subjecting the corpses to the most advanced scientific techniques, including sending the mummies to hospitals around London for CAT scans – the museum’s Egyptologists have been able to build up the most detailed picture yet of what lies beneath the sarcophagi and bandage-wrapped bodies. Read more.