Monday, April 11, 2022

mummification for all

A hundred years ago, fascination with Ancient Egyptian mummies reached new heights after Howard Carter discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun. Since then, Egyptian and Inca mummies have been a fixture of specialist research and lay interest alike (NB the Bodleian Library has an exhibition on Tutankhamun opening 13.4.). Recent research suggests that mummification as a burial ritual was more widespread than we knew. It may have been used in Europe in the Neolithic, and the Chinchorro culture on the edge of the Atacama Desert extended the procedure to all members of society, for many centuries.

So, looking beyond the classic pharaohs, I've rounded up some new and recent insights around mummification for my latest feature in Current Biology, which is out now:

Immortalised bodies

Current Biology Volume 32, Issue 7, 11 April 2022, Pages R295-R298

Restricted access to full text and PDF download
(will become open access again one year after publication)

Magic link for free access
(first seven weeks only)

The Chinchorro culture in northern Chile has produced some of the oldest intentionally prepared mummies known. They are also remarkable for extending mummification to all members of their community. (Photo: Pablo Trincado/Flickr (CC BY 2.0).)

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