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mummification... new insight


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#1    vikas bagla

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 05:51 PM

Mummification of the dead was not always practiced in Egypt. Once the practice began, an individual was placed at a final resting place through a set of rituals and protocol. The Egyptian funeral was a complex ceremony including various monuments, prayers, and rituals undertaken in honor of the deceased. The poor, who could not afford expensive tombs, were buried in shallow graves in the sand, and because of the arid environment they were often naturally mummified.


#2    DieChecker

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 01:14 AM

I had thought I heard that it was these naturally mummified dead that led directly to the nobles being mummified on purpose, but since they did not want to just put the pharoah out in the sand for a year to dry out, they developed their 7-herbs-and-spices method.

Edited by DieChecker, 16 October 2013 - 01:14 AM.

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#3    krish55

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 10:16 AM

The 11th century Hindu Saint Ramanuja's body is mummified in Srirangam Temple in TamilNadu,India.  The mummified photo can be seen in the wiki page itself.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramanuja

This must be the subject of an intense research...but not sure why it isnt happening!


#4    The_Spartan

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 12:05 PM

When you keep on coating a dead body with sandal wood paste and what not, all the paste dries, caking, forming layer over layer.
They have been doing it for more than 800 years.

Try piercing all that layers, you would find the gases from the cavity escaping and perhaps a mummified or skeletized figure.

There are numerous examples of mummification by coating,  by mud, bitumen etc.

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#5    DieChecker

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 09:13 PM

Hummmm.... That seems more like an encapsulation, rather then mummification. Was he even dried out first? Or, just sealed up inside?

Here at Intel we make processors on 12 inch wafers. And, the individual processors on the wafers are called die. And, I am employed to check these die. That is why I am the DieChecker.

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#6    Kaa-Tzik

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 06:56 PM

View PostDieChecker, on 16 October 2013 - 01:14 AM, said:

I had thought I heard that it was these naturally mummified dead that led directly to the nobles being mummified on purpose, but since they did not want to just put the pharoah out in the sand for a year to dry out, they developed their 7-herbs-and-spices method.
7-herbs-and-spices method. Mmmm, yummy. And teriyaki style mummies as well, lovely.


#7    kmt_sesh

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 03:37 AM

View PostKaa-Tzik, on 11 December 2013 - 06:56 PM, said:

7-herbs-and-spices method. Mmmm, yummy. And teriyaki style mummies as well, lovely.

Don't forget that a properly embalmed Egyptian mummy is essentially beef jerky. Add the secret seven herbs and spices and you get a tangy, tasty treat!

This topic has taken a disturbing turn. I find it to be distasteful. :whistle:

Mummification in the Egyptian style is one of my favorite research topics. That we know how it was done has been demonstrated twice now on human cadavers, once in the U.S. and more recently in Great Britain. The Egyptians were not the first to mummify human bodies and certainly weren't the only ones to do so, but no culture of ancient times perfected the craft to their degree. Short of a time machine we can't know why the Egyptians first began to mummify their dead, but the natural desiccation DieChecker mentioned is a leading theory. The dead were buried in pits in prehistory, and the hot and arid environment would occasionally dry out the body naturally to the point that most of it survived. We have a prehistoric Egyptian mummy at the Field museum which dates to the Naqada II period, which means she's around 5,500 years old. Most of her skin is still intact.

It is only theoretical, but the argument is that once prehistoric Egyptians began to construct tombs for their dead, the body was divorced from the hot and arid sand and there was nothing to preserve it. Perhaps prehistoric Egyptians witnessed disturbed graves in which bodies were still recognizably human, so they believed the physical form was meant to survive. The early tombs would prevent this from happening, so they began to experiment with techniques to preserve bodies artificially. A prehistoric cemetery at the site of Hierakonpolis revealed a number of years ago that prehistoric Egyptians were already well on their way to preparing bodies for burial—even if the end result was not exactly successful. It wasn't until many centuries later, by the Middle Kingdom, that mummifications were becoming routinely successful. The embalmers' skills reached their peak just after the New Kingdom, in Dynasty 21.

Others are correct about the limited degree to which mummification was available. The practice became more publicly available after the Old Kingdom, but it was always a matter of "if you can afford it you can have it." Down through dynastic times most people could not afford mummification. Most people were still interred in simple pit graves. On occasion these bodies were well preserved by the arid environment, but most are skeletal. The practice of mummification actually outlasted the pagan culture and there were occasionally early Coptic Christians who were mummified, albeit poorly. By that time the original skills of the traditional embalmer were extinct.

Now pass the jerky. I need a salty snack.

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#8    DieChecker

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 03:46 AM

Is there any records of anyone ever eating an Egyptian Mummy? I've heard that they had all kinds of things done with them. Such as being burned like firewood, and torn up looking for jewels and fed to dogs.

Here at Intel we make processors on 12 inch wafers. And, the individual processors on the wafers are called die. And, I am employed to check these die. That is why I am the DieChecker.

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#9    kmt_sesh

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 04:13 AM

View PostDieChecker, on 12 December 2013 - 03:46 AM, said:

Is there any records of anyone ever eating an Egyptian Mummy? I've heard that they had all kinds of things done with them. Such as being burned like firewood, and torn up looking for jewels and fed to dogs.

Why, yes, I sneak one out of the Field Museum every weekend. Ground up, they make a nice salad spice.

Wow, this thread has put me in a strange mood.

Disturbingly enough, there is ample evidence for mummy consumption. The word "mummy" comes from Old Persian mumiya and was what the ancient peoples of Iran called bitumen, or natural tar. It can be found in certain areas of the Near East, including around the Dead Sea. The Persians believed this stuff was medicinal and would dry it out and drink it as a tonic. They invaded and conquered Egypt in 525 BCE, and Persian garrisons stationed in Egypt must have noticed the blackish coloration many mummies possessed. This was not actually bitumen but oxidized tree resin (smeared on bodies and bandages during the mummification process), but the Persians probably couldn't tell the difference. Their word mumiya subsequently became our word "mummy."

Flash forward a bit in time. Given that the Persians had believed the Egyptian mummies were coated in bitumen, and the fact that bitumen often did become used in mummification in and after the Persian period, the belief developed that the mummies themselves must be medicinal. I've never been able to nail down to my own satisfaction when it first started, but by medieval times many people acquired Egyptian mummies, ground them into powder, and drank them as a tonic. I'm not kidding. In medieval Europe it is said most apothecary shops kept mummy dust on their shelves.

So that much is true. There's a favorite story I like to tell folks at the museum, and it's probably more apocryphal than factual. Supposedly one day two men (in the 1800s?) were poking and prodding around Giza and found an ancient jar of honey. People always say that honey can remain edible indefinitely, so the two men wondered if it was true. They proceeded to dip their hands in the ancient jar to scoop up the honey, and found it very much to their liking. That is, until, one of the men reached in and pulled out a mummified human head.

As for jewels, this is the main reason ancient tomb robbers would destroy interred bodies. They weren't about to sit there and patiently cut away thick wrappings of linen, so they punched or hacked at mummies, or burned them. This was all in the hopes of quickly finding amulets made of gold and semi-precious stones. It's also one reason so many tombs in modern times are found to have no mummified bodies, or only tattered body parts.

The bit about using mummies for firewood is almost certainly false, as popular as it is to this day. It began with Mark Twain's story Innocents Abroad, in which he writes tongue-in-cheek about mummies being used as fuel for locomotives. My favorite line in the story is: "Damn these plebeians, they don't burn worth a cent—pass out a King!"

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#10    jaylemurph

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 04:41 AM

I don't about within the period when they were created, but throughout the Renaissance and into the last Century, mummia -- ground up mummy -- was used medicinally. People ate it all the time.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mummia

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#11    DieChecker

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 05:23 AM

So some Egyptian pharoah who had the bad fortune to be moved to a mass grave, might have been gobbled up by the Kings of Europe?

Eeeewwwwweehhhhhh!!!

Here at Intel we make processors on 12 inch wafers. And, the individual processors on the wafers are called die. And, I am employed to check these die. That is why I am the DieChecker.

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#12    jaylemurph

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 01:09 AM

View PostDieChecker, on 12 December 2013 - 05:23 AM, said:

So some Egyptian pharoah who had the bad fortune to be moved to a mass grave, might have been gobbled up by the Kings of Europe?

Eeeewwwwweehhhhhh!!!

Oh no. It's far more likely he gotten eaten by some prole. Gross /and/ declasse.

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#13    Spore

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 09:39 PM

To my knowledge, the three best preserved mummies in history are vv

The Peruvian Girl (Inca)
http://staytuned360.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/3rt2.jpeg

Nubian Mummy (Maiherpra)
http://interactive.archaeology.org/hierakonpolis/field/maiherpa.html

Mummy of Yuya (father of Queen Tiye)
http://www.spiritweb.us/egypt/Mummies-Yuya.jpg


#14    kmt_sesh

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 03:49 AM

To the above list I would definitely add:

Mummy of Tjuya, wife of Yuya

Mummy of Seti I

Mummy of Ramesses II, son of Seti I

The Tolland Mummy

However, I would not add the Chinese mummy of Lady Dai. I am well acquainted with mummies, and it is my considered opinion that Lady Dei is the creepiest mummy on the planet. :lol:

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#15    lawereyanlu

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 07:19 AM

The mummified photo can be seen in the wiki page itself.Posted Image





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