By means of the Mummy, mankind, it is said, Attests to the gods its respect for the dead. We plunder his tomb, be he sinner or saint, Distil him for physic and grind him for paint, Exhibit for money his poor, shrunken frame, And with levity flock to the scene of the shame. O, tell me, ye gods, for the use of my rhyme: For respecting the dead what’s the limit of time? Ambrose Bierce


Mummies (30 to 40 centuries old) in the museum, Gizeh, Egypt

Mummies (30 to 40 centuries old) in the museum, Gizeh, Egypt

Mummies and death in Egypt Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2006      Francoise Dunand, Roger Lichtenberg; foreword by Jean Yoyotte; translated from the French by David Lorton Mummies Egypt Hardcover. 1st. ed. and printing. xiii, 234 p.: ill., maps; 26 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 217-221) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

Today, a good century after the first X-rays of mummies, Egyptology has the benefit of all the methods and means at the disposal of forensic medicine. The ‘mummy stories’ we tell have changed their tone, but they have enjoyed much success, with fantastic scientific and technological results resolving the mysteries of the ancient land of the pharaohs.

Mummy, Ramses II

Mummy, Ramses II

Mummies are the things that fascinate so many about ancient Egypt. But what are mummies? How did the Egyptians create them? And why? What became of the people they once were? We are learning more all the time about the cultural processes surrounding mummification and the medical characteristics of ancient Egyptian mummies.

Egyptian views; Cairo (Masr). Mummy coffins in Cairo Museum

Egyptian views; Cairo (Masr). Mummy coffins in Cairo Museum

In the first part of Mummies and Death in Egypt Françoise Dunand gives an overview of the history of mummification in Egypt from the prehistoric to the Roman period. She thoroughly describes the preparations of the dead (tombs and their furnishings, funerary offerings, ornamentation of the corpse, coffins, and canopic jars), and she includes a separate chapter on the mummification of animals. She links these various practices and behaviors to the religious beliefs of classical Egypt.

Egyptian views; Thebes. Mummy of Amenophis II in the royal tomb

Egyptian views; Thebes. Mummy of Amenophis II in the royal tomb

In the second part of this book, Roger Lichtenberg, a physician and archaeologist, offers a fascinating narrative of his forensic research on mummies, much of it conducted with a portable X-ray machine on archaeological digs. His findings have revealed new information on the ages of the mummified, their causes of death, and the illnesses and injuries they suffered. Together, Dunand and Lichtenberg provide a state-of-the-art account of the science of mummification and its social and religious context.

Egyptian views. Cairo (Masr). Pharoah's mummy in Cairo Museum

Egyptian views. Cairo (Masr). Pharoah’s mummy in Cairo Museum

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