Showing posts with label Mummification. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mummification. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Clues of Heart Disease Found in 16th-Century Mummies

 16th-Century Mummies
It is always fascinating to see what we can learn from our ancestors. How they lived without intervention or use of modern utilities, the knowledge that we have today and much more that are home to the current time. But what about looking at diseases present today? Were the same diseases, found today, present in our ancestors too? Well that may be a question that is hard to answer since asking our ancestors is totally out of the question. So what about CT scans? Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital did just that.

Researchers found evidence of heart disease in mummies from the 16th century.

CT Scan on 16th century Mummies to Discover Heart Disease: 

Researchers subjected 5 mummies from 16th century Greenland to a CT scan and the results were astounding. The research team began to look for evidence of plaque in the mummies and were not disappointed. Plaque in the arteries is indicative of atherosclerosis, one of the leading causes of death in the US today.

The high resolution scans showed that there were calcium deposits in the blood vessels in the chest of the mummies. There were four adults and a child from the Inuit community that were tested for heart disease and in all four were these telltale deposits of calcium discovered.

The images from the five mummies was scanned and even shown on National Geographic in a show titled “Explorer”. The research into the mummies from Greenland was only a small part of the main research project. A project to discover heart disease in early hunter gatherer or pre industrial civilization is the main project behind the research into mummies form 16th century Greenland.

A Look at the Past and Heart Disease: 

Researchers have looked at mummies form Egypt to Mongolia and now more recently to Greenland for evidence of atherosclerosis- a heart disease. The Greenland mummies were of particular interest to researchers because of their particular diet. The Inuit community mainly consumed fish and small sea mammals.

A fish diet is considered good for a healthy heart, so finding heart disease in a community thought to have had a largely fish diet seems somewhat surprising. While others may be surprised with the findings, researchers were not. The relationship between a fish diet and a healthy heart is not really proven. Finding heart disease in these mummies would require further investigations.

Fish rich in omega 3 is good for the heart but certain other fish are rich in cholesterol and contain things such as mercury and PCBs that are touted as causes for heart disease.

Other Factors that may have Caused Heart Disease: 

While diet may be a main cause of causing heart disease, there could be other factors at play that can cause heart disease. Lifestyle factors such as excessive smoke while cooking could also be one of the reasons why these mummies showed signs of heart disease.

Researchers are not taking the results seriously as they are based on a small sample of population and not indicative of the entire population.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

The 500-year old Mummy of Lama Tenzin

Lama Tenzin

Mummification – Embalming & Enfolded in Linen

Normal mummification seems to be quite exceptional which needs settings of great temperature together with dry air in order to preserve the body. Several of the mummified bodies seen in museums and text-books had been mummified with the help of chemical process known as embalming and thereafter enfolded in linen.

However, the Buddhist monks in Japan and Tibet seem to have a unique way of mummification and when the monk is alive he tends to have a gradual process of starving and termination of eating barley, rice and been that have a tendency of adding fat to the body. Moreover in preparation for death, he has candles along his skin, which dries it out. The monk is said to die of starvation in a seated position and the fat decomposes after death.

On eliminating the body of fat, the monk can be preserved in a better manner. After his death, he is placed in an underground room for three years to continue the process of drying once again and treated with candles whereby the monk tends to become a statue in prayer. An earthquake that had taken place in 1975 in northern Indian had exposed an old tomb comprising of the mummified body of monk Sangha Tenzin.

Preserved with Skin Intact

The local police had excavated the tomb in 2004 and had discovered the mummified body which was amazingly well preserved with the skin intact and with hair on his head. He is said to have died in a sitting position having a rope around the neck and thighs. This is an obscure practise which has been recorded in some of the documents of the Buddhist.

A consulting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Victor Mair had quoted that the mummy had been at least 500 years old. It is a strange fact that the manner of the mummified body seems to be a natural one with no chemicals utilised in order to preserve the same and it seems to have a certain kind of freshness. As per the report, the mummified body had been preserved for its age.

Local legends claim that he had requested his followers to preserve him during a scorpion infestation in that area and after his spirit had left his body, a rainbow seemed to appear and the scorpions had disappeared.

Mummy – Sangha Tenzin

The town is said to be around 30 miles from the Tabo Monastery which dates back to 996 CE. The mummified body of Sangha Tenzin is said to be on display in Gue village in the cold and remote Spiti district in a temple two miles from where he had been discovered, in Himachal Pradesh region on the border of Tibet around 6000 metres above sea level. It seems too difficult to reach the town since it is controlled by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and secluded in the Himalayas.

The temple where the mummy is placed for display is open to the visitors who intends visiting that place. The mummy of Sangha Tenzin is not the only lonely mummy in that region but there are other mummified bodies too in Tibet which had been buried by the Tibetan immediately after the invasion of the Chinese.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Mysterious Tiny Mummy Stuns Experts

Tiny Mummy
A Tiny Human Mummy Stuns the Experts at KIMS

The Egyptian mummies have been a subject of scrutiny and study by scientists and historians for hundreds of years. The study of these mummies reveals a lot of facts about the era of Pharos. Recently a study was conducted in the UK and it simply stunned the experts when they discovered the truth about a tiny Egyptian mummy. This mummy was long thought to be the preserved remains of a hawk, but is actually a human baby. This human baby mummy was a part of Maidstone Museum Collection and was studied by the Computerized Tomography. The study was conducted at Kent Institute of Medicine and Surgery, and the results literally astounded the experts.
Tiny Mummy_2

Mummy of a Miscarriage baby

The Collections Manager of the museum Samantha Harris remarked that the scans conducted at KIMS revealed the fact that it was the mummy of a human baby. Further studies conducted also proved that it was the mummy of a miscarriage baby, a 20-week gestation fetus. It is a one of a kind discovery as it is the youngest human mummy to be unearthed. The CT scan actually gave the experts the opportunity to run tests on the mummy. It is believed to be a 2,300 years old mummy, and no damaged has been caused by the scans and tests. Harris also explained that it was only because of the technology which helped identifying and learning about the mummy. Without access to such a technology it was have been impossible to study the baby without causing irrevocable damage from unwrapping.
Tiny Mummy_3

Speculations of Mummy Being a Love Child

This rare discovery has led to a few speculations that the mummy could have been the love child of an Egyptian pharaoh. However, a spokesman of Maidstone Museum remarked that no such evidence has been found to support this speculation. The museum also stated that further conservation and research will be undertaken to care and respect the mummy as a human child. They consider it their duty to maintain highest standards of ethical responsibility in order to preserve the remains of the mummy. Following the results of this research, another study was conducted on a Maidstone Museum mummy called Ta-Kush, and the results were equally remarkable.

Tests on Other Ancient Remains

The tests conducted on Ta-Kush not only revealed evidence of wisdom teeth, but also helped the experts conclude her age. They also found evidence of a wedge fracture in vertebrae, a symptom which showed that the patient suffered a downward impact. At first the experts though that Ta-Kush was 14 but later tests proved that she was in her mid 20’s. Other tests are being conducted in Liverpool John Moores University to help reveal additional details about this young female mummy. It has been officially declared that the university will further research and conduct additional tests to reconstruct the mummy’s face.

Considering the results of these tests, another research was done on an Egyptian ram’s horn, which was scanned at KIMS hospital. The experts found that it was filled with objects like buttons and necklaces belonging to the Victorian Era.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Tarim Mummies

Tarim Mummies

Tarim Mummies – Discovered in Tarim Basin

The Tarim mummies, a series of mummies were discovered in Tarim Basin, present day Xinjiang, China and are believed to date from 1800 BCE to 200 CE. The Tarim Mummies have been constantly debated since their discovery due to fear that the DNA of the Tarim Mummies would disprove the claims of the nationalist Uyghur of being indigenous to the region and different studies of the mummies have resulted in conflicting theories. Some scientists are of the belief that they have the appearances of western Eurasia while others believe that they are exclusively Caucasoid or Europoid.

The mummies mostly the early ones are often connected with the presence of the Indo-European Tocharian language in the Tarim Basin but the evidence is not completely convincing and many centuries tend to separate the mummies from the first attestation of the Tocharian languages in writing. The team of Victor H, Mair, a professor from University of Pennsylvania and project leader, was of the conclusion that the mummies were Europoid, the likely speakers of Indo-European language. The likely presence of speakers of Indo-European languages in the Tarim Basin towards 2000 BCE, if confirmed could be interpreted as evidence that the cultural exchange had taken place between the Indo-European and Chinese population at an early date.

Beauty of Loulan – Nordic in Appearance

It had been proposed that such activities such as chariot warfare as well as bronze-making could have been transmitted to the east by these Indo-European wanderers. The DNA data sequence portrayed that the mummies had Haplogroup R 1a – Y-DNA typical of western Eurasia in the region of East-Central Europe, Central Asia and Indus Valley.

Chinese and American researcher team working in Sweden had tested DNA from 52 different mummies inclusive of the mummy designated `Beauty of Loulan’, wherein her features had been described as Nordic in appearance. She was around 45 years old when she died and genetically mapping the origins of the mummies, the researchers confirmed that the mummies were of West Eurasian decent. Victor Mair has commented that these studies were very important since they link up eastern and western Eurasia at a formative stage of civilization in a much closer way than has ever been done before.

Textile Easternmost Known Example of Weaving Technique

An earlier study by Jilin University had observed an mtDNA haplotype characteristic of Western Eurasian population with Europoid genes. The Chinese government, in 2007 had allowed a National Geographic Society team lead by Spencer Wells to examine the DNA of the mummies. Wells could extract undegraded DNA from the internal tissues. The scientist had extracted adequate material to recommend the Tarim Basin was constantly inhabited from 2000 BCE to 300 BCE and initial results showed that the people instead of having a single origin, had originated from Europe, Mesopotamia, Indus Valley and other areas which are yet to be determined.

It has been affirmed that the textiles found with the mummies are of early European textile type based on close resemblances to fragmentary textiles found in salt mines in Austria, dating from the second millennium BCE. Anthropologist Irene Good, specialist in early Eurasian textiles, noted the woven diagonal twill pattern specified the use of a sophisticated loom and she states that the textile is the easternmost known example of this type of weaving technique.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Canopic Jars – Part of Mummification to store organs

Canopic Jars
Canopic jars were used by the Ancient Egyptian from the time of the Old Kingdom up till the time of the Late Period or the Ptolemaic Period,as part of the mummification to store four main organs which would be taken out of the body and placed in special containers for the afterlife.

Each of these jars had the head of a different god known as the four sons of Horus and wasof a wide range of materials like pottery, precious stone, calcite, gold, bronze, wood limestone, etc.

Canopic Jars 1

The type of material of the jars depended on the income of the owner and the size of the jars varied from 5 inches to 10 inches. Canopic jars were an important part in the rituals of ancient Egyptians; the most prominent part was the mummification process.

These containers were wide necked in which the internal organs of the deceased person were stored before mummifying the dead and the Egyptian’s belief in afterlife lead them to store the internal soft organs like the stomach, intestines liver and lungs in these jars.

Each of these organs were stored in separate Canopic jars and the heart it is said was left inside the body since the Egyptian believed that the heart was the soul and it was weighed afterlife, to see if the person had led a good life.

Plainly decorated to beautifully designed jars of different Style/Shapes

Canopic Jars 2
Initially there were plainly decorated jars and with passage of time,they gradually changed to beautifully designed jars with different styles and shapes.

There is a lot of debate on the origin of the term `canopic’ which has led some to believe that an ancient Egyptian port called Canopus, east of Alexandria and whose inhabitants worshipped Osiris was the Egyptian god of the dead and that the name canopic had derived from this source.

These jars had lids which were in the shape of a head of one of the minor funerary deities and the jar containing the stomach was protected by the goddess Neith with Duamutef as the patron.

While Qebehsenuef was the patron of the jar containing the intestines, it was protected by goddess Selket, and Goddess Isis protected the jar containing the liver which was patronised by Imseti.

Names of Protective Deities Written on the Jar 

Canopic Jars 3
The god Hapi whose jar had the lungs were protected by the goddess Nephthys and the name of the protective deities were mostly written on the jar with a magic formula to invoke the powers of the gods.

At times the lids of the jars had shapes as their heads where Imsety’s head was of a human, while Hapi’s head was that of a baboon.

 Dyamutef’s head being that of a dog and Qebehsenuf’s that of a falcon.

Canopic Jars 4
The organs which were individually wrapped in linen were placed into canopic jars with consecrated oil poured over them after which the jars were closed and preserved.

The jars were placed in a canopic box or chest and the simple canopic chest having flat or vaulted lids resembled shrines.

The jars were buried together though kept separate from the mummified body and in the pyramids built during the Old Kingdom, these canopic jar were placed often in shallow pit near the sarcophagus and then covered with a slab.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

History mystery: The Egyptian Last Ritual!

Most of the ancient civilization believed that there is a life after death and hence they comfort their beloved’s last rituals with so many procedures like opening of the mouth ceremony, mummification of the body, funeral feast etc for their afterlife. Let us view some of the interesting last rituals of Egyptians! Most of the Pyramids and Egyptian tombs were nearer to the Nile and are more particularly at the western side of the river. This because the deceased were buried facing the eastern side to face the sun and head pointing to the north direction and they never cremated the bodies of the deceased instead they mummified them and buried them.

The Great Greek historian Herodotus elaborate the ancient the mummification methods of Egyptians in detail. According to his observations there or three types’s mummification process according to the status and wealth of the deceased. The embalmers demonstrate in detail about the royal treatment which is a costly embalming method and the second one is of deluxe treatment and the third one is the most inferior treatment for poor. In the royal treatment they suck the entire brain through the nostrils with special tools and clean it thoroughly with some special solvent and side cut the belly of the deceased with a scared flint stone knife and remove the easily decomposing organs like intestine and clean it thoroughly with special aromatics and palm wine. They wash the body thoroughly and then they heavily pack the body with aromatics and like myrrh and salt and kept the body aside for seventy days and the body was wounded with muslin cloth before handed over to the relatives. In the mean time the deceased life size wooden image was prepared and the body will be inserted into it and will be stored in the burial chamber in a upright position.

In the second type, the body was not  cut opened  instead the body was filled with aromatics and cedar oil through anus and was injected to other part and the body was soaked  completely in some aromatic pickling agents for seventy days and the body was removed from the pickling process and they remove the cedar oil through anus and the oil came out with the digested stomach parts and the body was thoroughly packed and was  handed over to the relatives. In the third process which is meant for poor; they processed  the inner body with solvent and it was pickled for the same seventy days and at the end the body was washed and handed over to the relatives of the deceased. If the deceased was a commoner then the funeral process was very simple with the gathering of friends and relatives but if the deceased was a Royal then the procession was more elaborate with detailed affairs with funeral feast, procession and with some magical rituals including the sealing of the tomb. Ancient Egyptian procession started in the early morning down towards the Nile. The professional mourners and the relatives wailed loudly throughout the procession and they rubbed themselves with mud and ashes. With the body, foods and editable items for the feast and  burial ceremony was carried.

 An ox was dragged in a stand, which was served as a scapegoat for the deceased’s evil deeds in the earthly life. At the end of the procession the mouth opening ceremony was performed to open the mouth and eyes of the deceased for the eternal life. In the mouth opening ceremony the chief priest  spelled the prayers and touched the mouth and body of the deceased with the scared flint stone to symbolize, the God Horus opens the eyes and mouth for the afterlife. If the deceased was a Pharaoh then the body would be placed in the royal palace for the ceremonial visit to the public and the pharaoh’s widow wife stood next to the feet of the body and the mouth opening ceremony was conducted by the new pharaoh himself instead of the Chief priest. The oxen which were dragged along was slaughtered and sacrificed and the right foreleg offered to the deceased. At the final goodbye the priest chant the prayers poured out the Liberations and burn huge amount of aroma. If the deceased was a poor he was placed in a hole and if he was placed in sarcophagus within the tomb with the lot of things and objects needed for his walk to other life. At the end the tomb will be sealed and the feast was commenced at the tomb with the remains of the food and sacrificed oxen. Many of the tombs have false door and some with some holes to the convenience of the deceased Pharaoh to watch the sky and stars.