New Insight Into Ancient Egyptian Mummification Techniques Gained Thanks to Old Kingdom Mummy
The mummy in question reportedly dates back to the times of the Old Kingdom, over 3,000 years ago.
Research into the millennia-old mummified remains of a nobleman has revealed that advanced mummification techniques were employed in Ancient Egypt much earlier than originally believed, according to The Observer.
The mummy of Khufy, a high-ranking official who lived during the time of the Old Kingdom in the third millennium BC, reportedly exhibits considerable sophistication in both the mummification process and the materials involved, which, as the newspaper points out, “was not thought to have been achieved until 1,000 years later.”
"If this is indeed an Old Kingdom mummy, all books about mummification and the history of the Old Kingdom will need to be revised," said Professor Salima Ikram, head of Egyptology at the American University in Cairo. "This would completely turn our understanding of the evolution of mummification on its head. The materials used, their origins, and the trade routes associated with them will dramatically impact our understanding of Old Kingdom Egypt."
1 May 2021, 13:43 GMT
As Ikram explained, they previously regarded the Old Kingdom mummification as “relatively simple, with basic desiccation – not always successful – no removal of the brain, and only occasional removal of the internal organs.”
"Indeed, more attention was paid to the exterior appearance of the deceased than the interior. Also, the use of resins is far more limited in the Old Kingdom mummies thus far recorded," she added. "This mummy is awash with resins and textiles and gives a completely different impression of mummification. In fact, it is more like mummies found 1,000 years later."
This discovery, the newspaper notes, is going to be featured in “Rise of the Mummies,” episode four of National Geographic’s documentary series “Lost Treasures of Egypt” – to be released on 28 November.