Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Get all your mummy news here

The most famous Egyptian pharoah of them all has finally been revealed:
King Tut's buck-toothed face was unveiled Sunday for the first time in public - more than 3,000 years after the youngest and most famous pharaoh to rule ancient Egypt was shrouded in linen and buried in his golden underground tomb.

Archeologists carefully lifted thae fragile mummy out of a quartz sarcophagus decorated with stone-carved protective goddesses, momentarily pulling aside a beige covering to reveal a leathery black body.

The linen was then replaced over Tut's narrow body so only his face and tiny feet were exposed, and the 19-year-old king, whose life and death has captivated people for nearly a century, was moved to a simple glass climate-controlled case to keep it from turning to dust.

In other mummy news, studies on the South American 'Llullaillaco Maiden' mummy has found that she and her sacrificial companion were prepared for their demise for up to a year:
New studies of the child mummies show that the children chosen for a one-way trek to a summit shrine, some time between 1470 and 1520, were groomed for death over a period of about one year.

The team, led by Dr Andrew Wilson at Bradford University, analysed hair samples taken from the heads and from small accompanying bags of four mummies....

The team studied DNA and isotopes (chemical signatures) from the hair samples, which give a unique snapshot of diet at different intervals: more than a year before death, the children ate vegetables such as potatoes, suggesting a peasant background. Subsequently it was enriched with plants such as maize, considered an "elite" food, and protein, likely to be dried llama meat.

A boy king and child sacrifices, remnants of long dead cultures preserved for our study centuries later. They also stand as reminders that regardless of our earthly status or burial finery we all end life in death.

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