A new study, carried out in collaboration with German and Egyptian scientists, has revealed some unknown facts about the mummification process practiced in Ancient Egypt. Here are the details…
They continue to amaze even after thousands of years! Groundbreaking discovery of ancient Egyptian mummies
Ancient Egypt is one of the most interesting civilizations in world history. Egyptian gods and goddesses, pyramids, pharaohs and, of course, mummies are the most curious elements of this civilization.
Moreover, despite the thousands of years that have passed and all the research that has been done, there are still many things we do not know.
For centuries, archaeologists have been studying the mummification process that people in Ancient Egypt used to keep their dead intact.
The success of using mummification techniques by the Egyptians, who did not have any of the technologies used in our age, surprises researchers every time.
An article published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Nature also revealed some facts about mummification that we never knew before.
Embalming materials in jars examined for the first time
Inscribed ceramic jars found in an underground chamber used for mummification during the 26th Dynasty contained important clues both to the treatment applied to the dead and the role played by trade in the mummification process.
The 31 jars in question were found in the Saqqara necropolis, near Cairo, where members of the royal family and members of the cream of society were buried.
Analyzing the remains in the jars, experts discovered traces of animal fat, oils and resins used in embalming.
Some of these materials were not able to be produced in Egypt; they could only have been brought here from other geographies. This showed that there was a strong link between the mummification processes of the Egyptians and their trading activities.
In the article, it was pointed out that the people who carried out the mummification process used a separate organic material for each organ of the body, and techniques such as heating and cooking were applied to some of these materials.
“A GROUNDBREAKING FINDING”
The research was carried out in collaboration with the University of Tübingen, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and the National Research Center in Cairo.
As an Egyptologist at the American University in Cairo, Dr. “This is groundbreaking research,” said Salima Ikram about the work she evaluated for The Wall Street Journal.
Dr. Ikram commented on the findings of the research, which he was not a part of, by saying, “This way, for the first time, we have a comprehensive knowledge of what the Egyptians used to create their mummies.”
INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE ARE WRITTEN ON THE JARS
The mummification facility with the jars was built by the late Dr. It was discovered during an excavation work started in 2016 by Ramadan B. Hussein. It is thought that the building was used in the period covering 664-525 BC.
On the jars were instructions for use such as “to rub on the head”, “bandage or embalm with it”, “to wash”, as used by both the clergy and the public.
The researchers also used these inscriptions on the jars to find the names of the organic substances they analyzed.
FIRST OVER THE FLOOR, THEN BELOW
Dr. According to Ikram, the mummification process began in the upper part of the structure. The bodies dried here were then taken to the embalming room 13 meters below the ground. Accompanied by prayers, the application of organic substances was started.
Another advantage of the underground room was that it kept animals such as dogs and coyotes away from the funeral.
Finally, the embalmed body was taken from this room and brought to the ground, and a ceremony was held in the presence of the clergy and the relatives of the deceased. The mummy, which was then taken underground again, was placed in the deeper burial chamber.
Dr. Ikram added that the source of our historical knowledge of the Mummification Process Is The Analysis Of The Remains On The Mummies And Bandages.
On the other hand, it was emphasized in the research that the Classical Egyptian texts and the works of Greek writers such as Herodotus and Diodoros also offer clues about embalming.
MATERIALS FOUND FROM RAIN FORESTS
Using a chemical testing technique called gas chromatography mass spectrometry, Maxime Rageot, a researcher in the Department of Biomolecular Archeology at the University of Tübingen, and a team from the Cairo National Research Center analyzed the contents of the jars.
Dr. Rageot stated that by drilling the jars with a drill, they took samples of the substances inside. These powdered substances were first mixed with various chemical liquids and then turned into gas with the help of gas chromatography mass spectrometry device.
During this process, different molecules in the substance were separated from each other. In this way, the researchers had the chance to examine the molecular structure and identify the source of the substance.
The really surprising results were obtained at this point. Because most of the substances in the jars were obtained from plants that could not be found in Egypt, but grown in other parts of the Mediterranean basin.
In fact, trees that are the source of some substances such as elemi resin could only grow in the rainforests of Africa and Asia.
Dr. “We knew that there was trade at that time, but these substances expanded the scope of our knowledge of trade networks. Because we did not know before that such materials could be imported to Egypt From Such Distant Geographies,” Ikram Said.
THEY COOKED AND USED SOME ITEMS
Archaeologist from the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Dr. “The mummification of the dead connected people living all over the world,” said Philipp W. Stockhammer.
Another detail that emerged within the scope of the research was that the substances were processed by heating, cooking or mixing with other substances.
On the other hand, archeology expert from Cardiff University in Wales, Dr. Paul T. Nicholson evaluated this research as an important step for the collaboration of experts from different fields.
Dr. Nicholson emphasized that the archaeological sciences and Egyptology have converged recently and said, “It is good to see the written evidence, the archaeological evidence and the archaeological sciences come together.”
Source: The Wall Street Journal Photos: The Associated Press (Nikola Nevenov and University of Tübingen)