Thursday, April 30, 2009


Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882) was an English painter and poet, and co-founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. He married Elizabeth Siddal (1829-1862), a model for many Pre-Raphaelite paintings, including his own "Beata Beatrix" and "Ophelia" by John Vincent Millais (1829-1896). (A photograph attributed to Rossetti is also shown for comparison.) When Siddal overdosed on laudanum, Rossetti was overcome with grief. When she was buried in London's Highgate Cemetery, he placed a small journal of poems in her red hair. He later regretted the decision - since he had kept no copies of the many poems - and applied to the Home Secretary for permission to exhume the coffin and retrieve them. This was done in the dead of night by his agent Charles Augustus Howell, who reported that Siddal was well-preserved - although some 8 years had passed since her death - and that her coppery hair had grown to fill the coffin. The poems from the journal were published, along with some new poems, and the volume was controversial, but well-received. Nevertheless, Rossetti was haunted by the exhumation for the rest of his life. Here is a stanza:
The idea that hair and fingernails continue to grow after death has been discredited, but the detail makes for a good story!

Waiting mortuaries

In the 19th century, before today's sophisticated methods of determining brain and cardiac death, people justifiably feared being buried alive. You may have seen diagrams of caskets outfitted with signal devices, like bells, that could be rung by someone who has been buried too soon. Another way of preventing premature burial became popular, especially in Germany - the waiting mortuary. This was a facility where those who were believed to be dead were watched to make sure it wasn't a reversible condition. The moribund were laid out, often in ornate halls surrounded, by flowers and visited by family members. Attendants watched for signs of life until decomposition began to set in, the sure sign that death had really occurred.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


A few months ago, I was contacted by a researcher named Paul who was heading to Peru. Despite the fact that I was unable to provide any information about the catacombs he hoped to visit, he kindly followed up with the above photographs of a rather unusual tomb he toured while he was in Lampa. He writes, "Honestly, this is the strangest tomb I have ever encountered, and the only instance I know of in which an entire ossuary was constructed to celebrate the tomb of a single individual." Also unusual is the way each full skeleton is topped by two skulls.
The bones of the tiny foot are part of the adult skeleton of a previously unknown hominid species, Homo floresiensis, excavated in Indonesia. The 2003 discovery of the remains of a single skull and several skeletons - nicknamed "hobbits" because they measured only 3' tall - has prompted debate among evolutionists about their relationship to Homo erectus. Many of the scientists discount the idea that the hobbits were dwarfs, and yet they are unlike any modern pygmies.
The skeleton in the bottom photo belonged to Harry Eastlack, Jr., (1930-1973) and shows the damage to his bones and connective tissue by the genetic disorder Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva. Eastlack's body began to ossify when he was ten; later, he could move only his lips and survived on a liquid diet. Before he died of pneumonia, he requested that his body be donated to science. His skeleton is displayed at the Mütter Museum, covered in my book, and mentioned in this article.

Morgues and such

The image at the top is a group of medical students gathered around the cadaver they are dissecting. It is in a new book that I ordered minutes after I heard about it and only a couple of hours before my sister also clued me in. I own two similar photographs. In one of them, the students are wearing smocks bearing the year of their graduation, and with the photo was a graduation invitation. I made the mistake of letting the two get separated, but intend to reunite them when I put my Museum back together.
The second image is compliments of new follower Carrie, who writes, "I don't know if you have ever seen the photography of Shaun O'Boyle. I came across his work looking up the old Buffalo psychiatric hospital since I'm from Buffalo (now living in Glasgow, Scotland) and used drive past that gorgeous old building all the time." The photos are beautiful and haunting and the artist's statement can be read here.
The third image was published in Harper's Weekly in 1874. The Paris morgue was a popular amusement and tourist attraction in the 19th c., and was on the visitor's itinerary along with the Eiffel Tower. The word morgue itself is directly from French:

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Phrenology - study of the structure of the skull to determine a person's character and mental capacity - was popular among the Victorians, who joined societies and attended lectures about what is now considered a pseudoscience. The truth is that different areas of the brain are responsible for different mental functions, but the strength of these areas cannot be assessed by feeling for protuberances on the skull. Phrenology was the impetus for a number of skull collections, though, many of which are still extant. Viennese physician Franz-Joseph Gall (1758-1828) and German physician Johann Gaspar Spurzheim (1776-1832), who are credited with founding and promoting phrenology, both had collections of skulls and casts on which to demonstrate - and when Spurzheim died in Boston, his skull was retained by the Boston Phrenological Society. Joseph Hyrtl (1810-1894), an anatomist and phrenologist also from Vienna, sold his collection of 139 skulls to Philadelphia's Mütter Museum and they are still on display:
Hyrtl had labeled each skull with name and occupation (when known); date, place, and cause of death; and any pathologies. Today's scientists prize such documented collections because the bones can be used as references for estimating the age, gender, and other characteristics of undocumented skeletons like archaeological finds. So phrenologists did researchers a favor - in addition to drawing many cool diagrams, two of which are reproduced above.

Grateful Dead logo

I used to listen to the Grateful Dead a lot in high school (and still enjoy their greatest hits now and then). Being the morbid person that I am, I liked their logos and album artwork - lots of skulls and skeletons! I always thought the image at the top to be a highly stylized and distorted drawing of the human skull, but when I was searching through a library book as an undergraduate, I found a drawing that was anatomically accurate and very similar. Of course, I can't find a similar drawing on the web despite an hour's search, but did find the above photograph. You can see that from above, with the cranium removed, the Dead logo is not far off the mark!

Monday, April 27, 2009


Did you ever go camping as a child - perhaps in the Scouts - and get coaxed into searching for hoop snakes? If so, you may have been tapping into the collective unconscious... While the hoop snake is an imaginary creature, the snake with its tail in its mouth is a symbol in many, many cultures. With origins in ancient Egypt, the ouroboros, as it is called, figures in Greek, Norse, Aztec, Hindu, Chinese, Native American, and Christian mythology. It appears in the symbology of alchemy and the zodiac. By completing the circle it represents the cycle of things, eternal renewal, wholeness. "The Ouroboros encircles the Universe; everything known and unknown is encompassed in its embracing coils, supporting and maintaining the earthly balance. It injects life into death and death into budding life. Its form suggests immobility with its locked jaws upon itself, yet at the same time it pushes the insistent message of perpetual movement through its twined coils." No wonder we could never catch it as kids!

Mastectomy tattoos

Some women have chosen tattoos over reconstruction of the breast(s) after radical mastectomy. This is their way of reclaiming their body, making something beautiful out of an ugly scar, changing their chest into an aesthetic display rather than the medical display it had been. I learned about this in a video that my classmate Karen made in graduate school - she gave me permission to include it here, but I can't get it loaded. Instead, I've included quotes and links to some examples:

"It took me ages to pluck up the courage....I'm quite proud of my 'war wound' and wanted to make it a bit prettier. People tell me it is lively and some people even think it's sexy - which is quite nice." ~Sally Arnold
“The entire process was wonderful. Lizards have always had a special meaning for me and I wanted to use that symbol, with all its rich, very personal and empowering energy my sense of wholeness, not a shame based ‘cover up’ or to try to make a terrible experience more tolerable, but to claim my selfhood and the empowerment that gave me." ~Jane Fox
"Getting my tattoo was the culmination of a three year dance with Breast Cancer. The tattoo changed my mastectomy scar into my shield." ~Pam Huntley
"I wanted to know that I had survived. I wanted to wake up in the morning and look in the mirror and know I had honored my journey." ~Jackie Floyd
"There was a fine red line across my chest where a knife entered, but now a branch winds about the scar and travels from arm to heart." ~Deena Metzger

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Frozen baby mammoth

In July 2007, news broke that a nearly intact baby mammoth had been found in Siberia by a reindeer hunter. The specimen was taken to Shemanovsky Museum in the regional capital for study by an international team of scientists. One of these researchers was University of Michigan paleontologist Daniel Fisher, who remarked, "It's the best and most complete mammoth carcass—baby or adult—ever found....I've studied these animals for so many years and imagined for so long what they must have looked like. But now, for the first time, I saw one face-to-face in its entirety, and that was a profound experience." First estimated to be 10,000 years old, "Lyuba" - as she has been dubbed - is now known to have died 40,000 years ago. She has been analyzed and autopsied at a laboratory in St. Petersburg, Russia, and the results will be revealed in the premier of "Waking the Baby Mammoth" on the National Geographic Channel at 9 P.M. tonight!

Saturday, April 25, 2009


I read in the news today that the recession has hit the Bronx Zoo and they are coming up $15 million short, so they are closing four exhibits with plans to parcel out the occupants to other zoos. The 100s of animals to be let go include the inhabitants of the World of Darkness exhibit, which houses bats, porcupines, sugar gliders, lemurs, bush babies, and night monkeys. I had just heard of the aye-aye for the first time yesterday (top photo) and wanted him to be in my Cabinet, so I checked Wikipedia to see if he was related to the lemur. Then I added all the animals whose names I had never heard - the loris and the potto - to the menagerie, along with those I had heard of, but coudn't picture - bush baby, tarsier. The result, for your viewing pleasure and mine, is a gallery of big-eyed, long-fingered creatures, most of which are prosimians and all of which

Emmett Kelly

The clown persona of Emmett Kelly (1898-1979) was "Weary Willie." When he was in costume, he never cracked a smile. The exception came when he learned of the birth of his daughter Stasia in 1955 - the photograph of him breaking character was seen around the world. A quarter of a century later, his daughter took another look at the old newspaper clipping as she sat in her airline seat waiting to take off to attend her dad's funeral in Florida. "The only time Willie smiled in public, the world smiled with him," she writes. She had just spoken to him on the phone the day before and he told her that moment was one of the happiest in his life. Stasia was grieving quietly when the man who had taken the seat next to her asked if she was okay. She told him that her father had died that day, but the photo she was looking at was taken on the day she was born. She didn't need to explain - he was Frank Beatty, the very man who had taken the photograph!

I heard this story yesterday, when Squire Rushnell was promoting his latest book about coincidences. He calls them "God winks," but we Forteans prefer the term synchronicity.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Wandering womb

The comment about maternal impressions in my last post was the segue to tonight's topic: wandering wombs! The illustration is by Canadian artist Bonni Reid and was chosen because of its modesty and its inclusion of - you guessed it - octopus tentacles! So here we go...

For hundreds of years in Western Europe, women who experienced symptoms such as faintness, nervousness, insomnia, fluid retention, heaviness in abdomen, muscle spasm, shortness of breath, irritability, loss of appetite for food or sex, and "a tendency to cause trouble" were diagnosed with hysteria. Specific to females, the word - meaning womb - and the idea - that it traveled throughout the body - derived from the ancient Greeks. Physician Galen (129-200 A.D.) wrote this description, which held for more than 1,000 years:

In women, in the hollow of the body below the ribcage, lies the womb. It is very much like an independent animal within the body for it moves around of its own accord and is quite erratic. Furthermore, it likes fragrant smells and moves toward them, but it dislikes foul odors and moves away from them… When it suddenly moves upward [i.e., toward a fragrant smell] and remains there for a long time and presses on the intestines, the woman chokes, in the manner of an epileptic, but without any spasms. For the liver, the diaphragm, lungs and heart are suddenly confined in a narrow space. And therefore the woman seems unable to speak or to breathe. In addition, the carotid arteries, acting in sympathy with the heart, compress, and therefore heaviness of the head, loss of sense perception, and deep sleep occur… Disorders caused by the uterus are remedied by foul smells, and also by pleasant fragrances applied to the vagina…

The womb was lured back into place, when necessary, by the application of sweet-smelling spices, perfumed oils, and incense. By the 17th c., these "womb-calming" therapies had given way to methods of manual stimulation (euphemized as pelvic massage) by the physician treating a woman for any number of nervous disorders that are now understood as schizophrenia, phobia, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. The therapy, with its goal of achieving hysterical paroxysm by which the symptoms were alleviated, was soon left to midwives. They were then relieved of the duty by the invention of massage devices in the Victorian era. These were used in the doctor's office and made the massage therapy quicker, but when electricity was introduced to the home, these appliances were offered to individuals by way of the Sears catalog (see illustration) and allowed women to relieve themselves in privacy. And thus the birth of the vibrator...9 years before the electric vacuum cleaner and 10 years before the electric iron!

Bears in the news

Two bear stories in the news last night, and a third this morning - how could I resist?

Two brown bears named "Nena" and "Katja" escaped from their circus enclosure just before a performance in Kassel, Germany, last weekend. Police responded to sightings of the two bears next to the highway. Nena was shot and killed when she bit an officer on the leg - though according to her owner she was 25 years old and barely had any teeth left. Katja was caught by employees of the Universal Renz Circus and led back to her enclosure.

On Wednesday it was reported that an adult black bear is living in the median of Interstate 5, near Exit 215 in Stanwood, Washington. Fish and Wildlife experts have baited a trap with pickled herring, bacon grease, honey and doughnuts in hopes of relocating the bear - said to have taken up residence in the same median last year - before it wanders into traffic and causes an accident.

Then just yesterday, Ashley Swendsen, 26, was walking on a trail in Colorado Springs, Colorado, when she spotted and walked away from a cinnamon-colored black bear. The bear headed toward her, and began chasing her when she ran. She scrambled up over an embankment, only to be hit - but not hurt - by a car. Division of Wildlife officers attempted to tranquilize the bear, but because it had lost all fear of humans, destroyed it. They did examine the female bear's tracks to make sure they didn't orphan any cubs. Speaking of which, Swendsen herself is 5 months pregnant. The earlier belief in maternal impressions would suppose that she would give birth to a baby with hypertrichosis, like the famous sideshow performer Jo-Jo the Dog-Faced Boy!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Animals and lightning

Still on the subject of animals, but these aren't mummified. The cow pictured is believed to have survived a lightning strike in Gladstone, South Australia, in January. Cows are prone to lightning strikes, according to the article, because they have all four feet on the ground and are eating grass where the electricity from the strike is conducted. Giraffes are even more likely to attract lightning because of their height. A 6-year-old 12-foot-tall giraffe named "Betsy" was killed by a lightning bolt in July 2003 at the Kilimanjaro Safari attraction at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida - the severe storm swept in quickly and the animal died instantly. The dog in this video had a near miss, but seems to have been affected by the charge in the air as it chases around the yard afterward!

Cat mummies

In addition to mummifying humans, the ancient Egyptians mummified animals, including crocodiles and bulls, and entombed them at sites sacred to the gods they represented. As incarnations of Bast, cats from all over Egypt were brought to Bubastis, and an accidental discovery in 1888 uncovered tens of thousands of them. But this post is about a more recent tradition...

Earlier this week, contractors working on a house in Devon, England, found a mummified cat that had been secreted in the wall centuries ago. "Cats were often put into walls as some kind of good luck charm....They seem to be designed to keep away witches, the evil eye, bad luck, vermin, anything that can be seen as a threat to the house....It does seem to have been quite a widespread practice across the European continent," explains Dr. Marion Gibson, professor of folklore at Exeter University. A similar specimen dating from the 1860s (depicted above) was found in the wall of an Australian house. And a stop on an English ghost tour is the Mill Hotel in Sudbury and a peek at the cat that had been placed in the wall of the original mill and discovered in 1971. When the innkeepers attempted to dispose of it in 1999, the road outside the hotel exploded, the office flooded several times, and the person who removed the cat had an accident - all within a few weeks - so its mummified remains are under glass in the lobby. Accidentally mummified cats are not all that uncommon, either, and a famous example is on display in the crypt of Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin, along with the rat it was presumably chasing when the two got stuck in the pipe organ in the 19th century. Canadian blogger Peter Bond photographed a mummified stray cat sticking out of a stone wall and says in the caption that it was the strangest sight during his 2007 trip to Greece.
When I was composing this post, my friend Cris called to let me know she is having her 18-year-old polydactyl cat "Minky" put to sleep this afternoon. Minky will be missed, but won't be walled up...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ocean garbage dump

As Earth Day draws to a close, here's another big human-caused mess to ponder...

In August 1997, Captain Charles Moore was returning to California after competing in a sailing race in Hawaii. He and the crew of his 50-foot catamaran decided to head home through a becalmed area of the ocean called the North Pacific subtropical gyre. It began with a line of plastic bags ghosting the surface, followed by an ugly tangle of junk: nets and ropes and bottles, motor-oil jugs and cracked bath toys, a mangled tarp. Tires. A traffic cone. Moore could not believe his eyes. Out here in this desolate place, the water was a stew of plastic crap. It was as though someone had taken the pristine seascape of his youth and swapped it for a landfill. They sailed for a week before they were past the accumulation of debris. Moore had discovered what is now known as the "Eastern Garbage Patch" or the "Great Pacific Garbage Dump" - estimated to be twice the size of Texas - and has since made it his mission to get the word out.

The garbage, much of it plastic, threatens marine life directly by choking and starving animals mistaking it for food. But as it degrades and disintegrates down to the molecular level, it is ingested by marine organisms and enters the food chain. This pollution is disrupting the balance of the ocean and of our own bodies...

Reduce, reuse, recycle! :-)

Blue-ringed octopus

This little guy - the size of a golf ball - is one of the most deadly creatures in the sea! Called the blue-ringed octopus for obvious reasons, its range is the eastern Indo-Pacific. It frequents the shallow coastal waters of Australia to the detriment of beach-goers who come into contact with it and may not even know they've been bitten, because the wound is so tiny and said to be painless. But the result is often death, because this octopus packs the same punch as the pufferfish and carries enough venom to fatally paralyze 10 large humans. Here's what happens:

"Within five to ten minutes, the victim begins to experience parasthesias and numbness, progressive muscular weakness and difficulty breathing and swallowing. Nausea and vomiting, visual disturbances and difficulty speaking may also occur. In severe cases, this is followed by flaccid paralysis and respiratory failure, leading to unconsciousness and death due to cerebral anoxia. Interestingly, the victim's heart continues to beat until extreme asphyxia sets in. Some victims report being conscious, but unable to speak or move."

The blue-ringed octopus changes its skin color and texture to camouflage itself, and only when it is threatened do the rings light up and pulsate. Because it lacks an ink sac. it has become a common addition to the marine aquarium - but toxicologists strongly disagree with this practice because of the potential danger to people who are unaware of the animal's neurotoxin - for which there is no antidote.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Marlin Perkins

When my Dad, my sister, or I have an animal sighting to report to each other, we give what we call the "Marlin Perkins report." This would include my recent observation of a family of sandhill cranes in the front yard here in Florida, my sister's experience with a bald eagle in Seattle, and my Dad's frequent mentions of coyotes and quail in his yard in Arizona. We three have fond memories of gathering in front of TV every week from the late 1960s to the early 1970s to watch Mutual of Omaha's "Wild Kingdom." Host Marlin Perkins (1905-1986) led us on vicarious expeditions throughout the world, joined by co-host Jim Fowler - who has joined the Discovery Channel's Animal Planet - and co-star Stan Brock - who has founded Remote Area Medical. The most memorable episode in the series was filmed in Guyana and aired in 1968: Perkins and Brock wrestle a giant anaconda out of a lake, but not without the snake wrapping its body around Perkins' chest and its tail around Brock's neck - exciting stuff! I couldn't find any footage of that, but did find a 1967 clip of Perkins and Fowler lassoing a black bear in the Florida Everglades that shows the dramatic moments we looked forward to on television. In addition to hosting "Wild Kingdom," Perkins directed the Saint Louis Zoo, another of our favorites when we lived nearby. When he died, he was cremated, but he has been commemorated with a statue in his hometown of Carthage, Missouri.

Five dog stories

In honor of my friend Deb's birthday, my post is about dogs this morning. The top photo is a skye terrier named Bobby, who was acquired as a watch dog by John Gray when he became a night watchman for the Edinburgh Police Department in 1856. The two became inseparable, walking the beat and eating together. Two years later, Gray was diagnosed with tuberculosis and died within weeks. He was buried in Greyfriar's Kirkyard and Bobby accompanied the procession to the grave. The little dog took up position at the spot and refused to be coaxed from it - except for his midday meal - for the next 14 years, until his own death. "Greyfriar's Bobby" was buried just inside the gate of the churchyard, and his loyalty has been celebrated in several films and in the erection of a statue and fountain in his honor.
The second photo is English artist Francis Barraud (1856-1924) with his dog "Nipper." Barraud's painting of the little dog cocking his head at the phonograph was adapted and registered as a trademark for His Master's Voice, a company still in existence as the HMV Group. The trademark is said to be the best-known in the world, and is also still in use.
In addition, I have collected 3 dog hero stories: In Titonka, Iowa, in July 2006, the Schutjer family's border collie kept 3-year-old Allie warm overnight in a cornfield after she wandered away from a campfire and went missing. In December of last year, Jaylynn Thorpe was protected from 17-degree weather by his two puppies when he was missing for 21 hours in the woods of Halifax County, Virginia. Last but not least, a chihuahua named "Pebbles" saved owner Beverley Burkitt from hypothermia in March after she strayed into dense woods on a walk in Dolwyddelan, North Wales, and found she had lost her cellphone - a little person saved by a little dog, since Burkitt is a dwarf!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Emile Friant

I just finished watching the film "I've Loved You So Long" (2008). Despite the fact that it is subtitled and never approaches the speed limit, I have to admit it was pretty good. It featured the painting above, so I was (of course) compelled to look it up. By French painter Émile Friant (1863-1932), it is titled "La Douleur" ("Pain"), and a study for it may be seen here. Friant's naturalistic style - with the focus on photorealistic faces - was celebrated during his lifetime and he was much sought after to paint portraits. But as was said in the film, he has largely been forgotten.

Raiding ancient Egypt

Giovanni Battista Belzoni (1778-1823) was an Egyptian explorer (or tomb-robber, according to your point of view). He is best known for removing a 7-ton statue of Rameses II from the Ramesseum, a mortuary temple at Thebes. He succeeded where Napoleon had failed because of his knowledge of engineering and hydraulics, although the feat took 130 men 17 days to accomplish - and Belzoni deliberately broke the bases of two columns to clear the way for the statue. The "Younger Memnon," as it became known, was transported via the Nile to Cairo in 1816, and was installed in the British Museum two years later. Its arrival in London is said to have inspired the poem "Ozymandias," by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822):

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Belzoni carried out a number of excavations in Egypt, but is remembered for being heavy-handed - which cannot be wholly attributed to the fact that in an earlier career, he was a circus strongman. Here he describes his penetration of an ancient tomb:

"After the exertion of entering into such a place, through a passage of fifty, a hundred, three hundred, or perhaps six hundred yards, nearly overcome, I sought a resting place, found one and contrived to sit; but when my weight bore on the body of an Egyptian, it crushed it like a bandbox. I naturally had recourse to my hands to sustain my weight, but they found no better support; so that I sunk altogether among the broken mummies, with a crash of bones, rags, and wooden cases, which raised such a dust as kept me motionless for a quarter of an hour, waiting till it subsided again. I could not remove from the place, however, without increasing it, and every step I took I crushed a mummy in some part or other. Once I was conducted from such a place to another resembling it, through a passage of about twenty feet in length, and no wider than that a body could be forced through. It was choked with mummies, and I could not pass without putting my face in contact with that of some decayed Egyptian; but as the passage inclined downwards, my own weight helped me on: however I could not avoid being covered with bones, legs, arms, and heads rolling from above. Thus I proceeded from one cave to another, all full of mummies piled up in various ways, some standing, some lying, and some on their heads."

Speaking of damage to antiquities, it is not true that the nose of the great sphinx was shot off by Napoleon's men.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Rediscovery of ancient Egypt

Strange as it may seem, ancient Egypt was "rediscovered" in the 19th c. Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) led his Egyptian military expedition in 1798 and brought with him 167 scholars and scientists, resulting in the discovery of the Rosetta Stone and the subsequent publication of the multi-volume Description de l'Égypte. Hieroglyphs were deciphered by French scholar Jean-François Champollion (1790-1832) in 1822. From 1838-1840, Scottish painter David Roberts (1796-1864) toured Egypt and the Holy Land and returned with a great number of sketches that were then made into lithographs (examples above). Roberts is credited with popularizing the country and its history: "Ancient Egypt was certainly not 'discovered' by Roberts....What Roberts achieved, however, was pioneering in its own way; he portrayed a real living country with a majestic past, rather than a mere spooky curiousity lost in the sands of time.He sketched nearly every antiquarian site, including many temples which have since been destroyed." Egyptian motifs were further popularized after the discovery of Tuthankhamun's tomb by Howard Carter (1874-1939) in 1922 when Art Deco became all the rage.