Oldest Mummy Discovered in Egypt.

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Registered: 03-18-2000
Oldest Mummy Discovered in Egypt.
4
Tue, 04-01-2003 - 11:26am
http://dsc.discovery.com/news/briefs/20030331/mummy.html


Egyptian archaeologists have brought to light the oldest known evidence of human mummification after opening on Sunday a 5,000-year-old wooden coffin found at Sakkara near Cairo.

Discovered amid more than 20 tombs built out of mud brick, the sarcophagi contained human remains covered in linen and resin.

"The mummy is considered the first embalming attempt known by ancient Egyptians 5,000 years ago dating back to the era of King Hor-aga," the Egyptian state information service said.

According to Zahi Hawass, the director of Egypt's council of antiquities, the bones probably belonged to an official who had lived around 3200 B.C under Egypt's First Dynasty.

Protecting bodies from decay and preserving them in a recognizable form was extremely important for the ancient Egyptians. They believed no person could enter the afterlife unless the Ka and Ba, the most important parts of the spirit, could return to the body: the reunification of body and spirit was the key to enjoying the afterlife.

Bodies were embalmed as early as 2613 to 2494 B.C., under the pharaohs of the 4th dynasty. However, already in 5000 B.C. bodies were preserved by burying them in the heat and dryness of the desert sand.

The most effective techniques were used between 1567-1200 B.C., and substances with the best antibacterial properties were chosen.

A recent, systematic analysis of mummification, involving 25 mummies dating from 2600 B.C. to 395 A.D., revealed that the ancient Egyptians used complex recipes.

Plant oils, salts, beeswax , coniferous, Pistacia and balsamic resins were found among the embalming ingredients. Moreover, "drying oils", which would have been liquid when applied and then hardened over time, were applied to provide an impermeable coating against the humidity of underground tombs.

Mummification required the removal all internal organs except the heart through a four-inch incision on the body's left side. During a final magical ceremony known as the "Opening of the Mouth," the eyes, mouth and ears were opened so the deceased could see, speak and hear during the afterlife.

"This is certainly one of the earliest attempts at mummification, but only moderately successful as the flesh was not adequately preserved. The discoveries of mummies that can be studied in context will certainly advance our understanding of the history of the mummification process and the technological advances made by the ancient Egyptians in this field," mummy expert Salima Ikram, Egyptologist at American University in Cairo, told Discovery News.

 


Photobucket&nbs

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 04-01-2003 - 12:17pm
I saw that report on the mummy and was excited,even though sometimes I wish they left them in their resting places. My sister is an Archaeologist and keeps me up to date.

She has told me about all the sites in Iraq that have yet to be studied and the possible damage that they could take.A bomb can shake the earth causing structural problems even when falling a good distance away from the site.

Annie
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-23-2003
Tue, 04-01-2003 - 4:12pm
Things like this make me marvel at the ancient world. How humankind managed to figure out so much, mostly just by observation, is amazing. And then, the pathway that those discoveries led them on and how they affected their spirituality, etc.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-18-2000
Tue, 04-01-2003 - 4:28pm
Anything to do with ancient cultures facinates me.

I envy your sis her job. On BBC this morning they interviewed a prof. of Arabic studies in Oxford & he was saying how he hope the sacred & historical sites in Iraq wouldn't be damaged or destroyed.

 


Photobucket&nbs

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 04-01-2003 - 6:20pm
My sister is complaining right now. She works in a Lab of a university and recently she was having to date dinosaur poop.i thought that was pretty neat.

She was on a site at Kolomoki last Summer and it was a lot of hard and sweaty work.

And time consuming.

Annie