‘Egyptian mummy-making started earlier than thought’

This video is called Mummies and the Wonders of Ancient Egypt (1996): 4. King Tut.

By Sid Perkins:

Egyptian Mummy-Making May Have Started Way Earlier Than Scientists Thought

08/14/2014 9:59

Long before ancient Egyptians swaddled their pharaohs in balm-and-resin-soaked linens and placed them in treasure-bedecked tombs, their more egalitarian predecessors were using essentially the same embalming recipe.

The finding, published in PLoS ONE, pushes back known use of the multi-ingredient ointment by about 2,000 years, the authors estimate. The early blend includes a resin that probably came from at least 1,000 kilometers away from the gravesites, hinting that the region already had an established and extensive trade network.

The results will have archaeologists rethinking how mummification evolved, says Alice Stevenson, an archaeologist at University College London who was not involved in the study.

Previously, the earliest known use of resin for mummification in Egypt was around 2200 bc, says Stephen Buckley, an archaeological chemist at the University of York, UK, and a co-author of the new paper. It was thought that before then, bodies buried in the region’s hot, dry sand had desiccated naturally. But now, Buckley and his colleagues’ detailed analyses of linen samples unearthed in central Egypt more than 80 years ago suggest that nature had a little help.

The ancient Egyptians developed sophisticated embalming treatments far earlier and across a wider geographical area than had been previously known, forensic tests on a well-known prehistoric mummy have revealed: here.

8 thoughts on “‘Egyptian mummy-making started earlier than thought’

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