Friday, August 15, 2014

Egyptian embalmers

Researchers from the Universities of York, Macquarie, and Oxford have just overturned the accepted timeline of ancient Egyptian embalming. More than 10 years ago, Macquarie Egyptologist Jana Jones (IMAGE ABOVE) noticed embalming resins in the cloths found with bodies buried as early as 4100 B.C.E. in small cemeteries in a region of central Egypt known as Mostagedda. The team collected and analyzed about 150 samples of this linen and confirmed that they contained a base of fat or oil mixed with resin from pine trees, aromatic plant extracts, plant gum or sugar, and a natural petroleum – ingredients known to have both adhesive and antibacterial properties. Their research indicates that the early Egyptians understood the science that would later become the basis of true mummification 1,500 years before it is generally believed to have begun in the Old Kingdom. Jones exclaims, "The most surprising and probably most sensational finding was that there was no fundamental change in the recipe of the embalming mixtures used when pharaonic mummification was at its peak, some 2,500 to 3,000 years later!"


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