Monday, November 25, 2013

Meat mummies

Until now, no one had paid much attention to the way the ancient Egyptians preserved the meat that they placed in the tombs for their dead to feast on in the afterlife. Tutankhamun, for instance, was buried with 48 carved wooden cases containing joints from poultry and beef, but there were so many other "wonderful things" in his tomb. Organic geochemists from the University of Bristol in the U.K. and Egyptologists from the American University in Cairo have determined that while some of the meat was simply desiccated with salt and wrapped in bandages, other pieces were treated even more elaborately than the dead. The beef rib (IMAGE ABOVE) found in the tomb of Yuya and Thuya (18th Dynasty, 1386–1349 B.C.), had been rubbed with a generous amount of Pistacia resin (pistachio tree sap) and was therefore "more sophisticated than the balms found on many contemporaneous human mummies."

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