A group of researchers at Macquarie University in Australia published a study in the local magazine PLOS ONE analyzing a 3,000-year-old mummy with a mud shell! This is the first mummified body with mud ever found by experts. The survey results were released last Wednesday (4).
Currently, the mummy is at the Chau Chak Wing Museum in Sydney. According to the study, the person was mummified in Egypt’s 20th dynasty some 3,000 years ago.
The 3,000-year-old mummy with mud shell
Image Source – Cosmos
According to the survey, the mummy is from a woman who was between 26 and 35 years old when she was mummified. The data were obtained by analyzing the dentition and the body skeleton. For this, a computed tomography was performed. The last time the mummy had done a tomography was in 1999. Therefore, the more technological resources allowed a better understanding of the body.
One of the most fascinating details of the study is the fact that the body is older than the coffin. Since the body was purchased by Sir Charles Nicholson, between 1856 and 1857, the coffin must have been originally sold with no real relationship to the mummified body.
Image Source – Live Science
In addition, the survey also provided more details about the mud shell. The shell surrounds the entire body and has layers wrapped in linen packaging. The images obtained reveal that the body was damaged shortly after the initial mummification. In this way, the mud was applied to restore the remains.
As the first mud-shelled mummy to be found, scientists are still unable to determine how common the practice was for the elite of Ancient Egypt. Therefore, further research must be conducted to find out more details about the procedure.
6 Fun Facts About Mummies You Probably Didn’t Know.
1. The term “mummy” comes from an Arabic word
There was a substance used as a medicine called “mumiya”, a word with origin in the Arabic language. There was a second substance used in the mummification technique, bitumen, whose name in Arabic was very similar to the word “mummy”. Europeans came to consume these substances believing they were medicines.
2. The oldest known mummies are in Chile
According to UNESCO, the oldest known evidence of the mummification technique is from South America, in the Atacama Desert. According to researchers at the University of Tarapacá in Chile, chinchorros started by mummifying only children, but expanded the use of the technique to any member of society.
The chinchorro mummies, a name that refers to the fishing society that inhabited regions of Peru and Chile, are, unfortunately, degrading due to the growth of bacteria and excess humidity.
3. In the 19th century, mummies were bought on the streets of Egypt
It sounds like a joke, but throughout the final stretch of the 19th century, street vendors in the cities of Egypt traded mummies in the streets. They were appreciated by the English court, which during the Victorian era held “strange parties with strange people”.
In this case, they were meetings in which the members of the court unwrapped the mummies, without much explanation as to the reason other than the pleasure of getting together to see what was underneath the fabrics.
4. Cats were mummified as an offering and companionship to the dead
Anyone who studies Ancient Egypt knows that cats were the favorite pets of that society. What few people know is that many of them ended up being created with the specific purpose of being killed and mummified as an offering to the gods and company to the dead. Life is tough for kittens.
5. Mummies were used for strange purposes
If the mummification technique already attracts attention, imagine knowing that, throughout the 19th century, many Egyptian mummies were imported to the United States to be unwrapped. Calm down, it doesn’t stop there: the objective was to use the linen rags that wrapped the bodies to make paper.
And don’t think it was the weirdest. In the same period, a British company acquired 180,000 cat mummies to spray on fields as fertilizer. It remains to be seen whether those who ate knew what was in the food.
6. Most of the mummified pharaohs were fat
Maybe it’s funny to read this, when we have in mind the images of mummies so dry and thin due to the action of time, but most of the Egyptian pharaohs, who went through the mummification techniques, were fat.
The story tells that these pharaohs maintained a diet rich in sugar, obtained from the consumption of bread, honey, beer and wine. Examinations carried out on some of these bodies found found that they suffered from obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Hatshepsut, the most famous pharaoh of Egypt, in addition to being obese, had caries in her teeth.