The Scientific Study of Mummies

The Scientific Study of Mummies

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The fact that bodies decay after death has concerned humans throughout the ages. Many cultures have attempted to arrest this decay, so that bodies are preserved (or mummified) in a state as near to life as possible, but spontaneously mummified bodies are also found. Mummies are being studied increasingly to answer questions about the health, social standing and beliefs of the population from whence they came, and the lessons that they have for modern populations. Originally published in 2003, this authoritative reference work explores why people mummify bodies and the mechanisms by which they are preserved, details study methods and surveys the myriad examples that can be found worldwide, evaluates the use and abuse of mummified bodies throughout the ages, and how mummified remains can be conserved for the future. Lavishly illustrated, The Scientific Study of Mummies will be of value to all those interested in paleopathology, archaeology and more

Product details

  • Paperback | 634 pages
  • 187.96 x 243.84 x 43.18mm | 1,224.69g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Reissue
  • 0521177359
  • 9780521177351
  • 895,255

Review quote

Review of the hardback: '... this book should be required reading for any serious researcher on the sometimes gory but always fascinating subject of mummies and what they can teach us about human beliefs and behaviour.' Sarah Wiseman, Nature Review of the hardback: '... a classic work ...'. The Lancet Review of the hardback: '... will become the standard reference text for bioarchaeological studies of mummified human remains and it is unlikely that the book will be superseded in this role for a very long time.' International Journal of Osteoarchaeology Review of the hardback: '... an indispensable research tool for students of ancient populations and palaeophathology ... a work of immense scholarship, superbly documents and exhaustively referenced.' The Times Higher Education Supplement Review of the hardback: 'Aufderheide's book, with its careful descriptions, beautiful illustrations, clear facts and timely reflections of a dedicated author, is in itself a statement on mummy studies and how they should be carried out for the benefit of all.' Annals of Human Biology Review of the hardback: 'This work, a veritable tour de force of mummy studies, will establish itself as the classic volume on mummies. The work is, therefore, essential reading for palaeopathologists, osteologists, archaeologists and mummy specialists worldwide.' Journal of Biosocial Sciences Review of the hardback: '... a timely addition to the literature, providing a basic text for training programmes in this field and also a research reference source. ... the range and depth of the author's scholarship and firsthand contributions to mummy science ensure that this thought-provoking book, with its wealth of facts, research citations and suggestions for future developments, will remain a classic in this field.' Rosalie David, University of Manchester 'Considering that [this] book is over 600 pages long and packed full of high-quality black-and-white images, I feel it is good value. It is a veritable encyclopaedia of all things mummy and covers everything from the history, purposes and techniques of anthropogenic mummification to the use of pulverised mummified human tissues as a medical drug ... This book will be engrossing not only to anyone with a passing interest in mummification and ancient history, but also to those curious about more recent events, as subjects covered include the embalming of Abraham Lincoln and the mummification of Eva Peron, Vladimir Lenin and the American Civil War horse, Comanche. It is highly recommended.' Bulletin of The Royal College of Pathologistsshow more

Table of contents

Preface; Acknowledgements; 1. History of mummy studies; 2. Purpose of anthropogenic mummification; 3. Mechanisms of mummification; 4. The geography of mummies; 5. Soft tissue taphonomy; 6. Mummy study methodology; 7. Animal mummies; 8. Soft tissue paleopathology: diseases of the viscera; 9. The museology of mummies; 10. Use and abuse of mummies; References; more