9 Fascinating Mummy Discoveries
The mummy, which was found in the city of Taizhou in the Jiangsu Province along with two other wooden tombs, offers a fascinating insight into life as it was back then. Discovered two meters below the road surface, the woman's features - from her head to her shoes - have retained their original condition and have hardly deteriorated.
When the discovery was made by the road workers in 2011, Chinese archaeologists from the nearby Museum of Taizhou were called in to excavate the area. They were surprised by the remarkably good condition of the woman's skin, hair, eyelashes, and face. It was as though she had only recently died.
2Sacrificed Inca Children
The children were sacrificed as part of a religious ritual known as Capacocha. They walked hundreds of miles to and from ceremonies in Cuzco and were then taken to the summit of Llullaillaco (yoo-yeye-YAH-co), given chicha (maize beer), and, once they were asleep, placed in underground niches where they froze to death. Only beautiful, healthy, physically perfect children were sacrificed, and it was an honor to be chosen. According to Incan beliefs, the children did not die, but joined their ancestors and watched over their villages from the mountaintops like angels.
Thanks to Salafia's embalming techniques, the body was well-preserved. X-rays of the body show that all the organs are remarkably intact. Rosalia Lombardo's body is kept in a small chapel at the end of the catacomb's tour and is encased in a glass covered coffin located on a marble pedestal.
42,400-Year-Old Egyptian Mummy with a Brain Removal Tool
Removal of the brain was an Egyptian mummification procedure that became popular around 3,500 years ago and remained in use during later periods. Identifying the ancient tools which embalmers used for brain removal is difficult, and researchers note that this is only the second time that such a tool has been reported within a mummy's skull.
Located between the left parietal bone and the back of the skull, which had been filled with resin, the object was discovered in 2008 through a series of CT scans. Researchers then inserted an endoscope (a thin tube often used for noninvasive medical procedures) into the mummy to get a closer look and ultimately detach it from the resin.
5Strange Mummy Found by a 10-Year-Old
Experts were investigating whether the "mummy" was a genuine, ancient Egyptian relic, a replica, or something entirely different. It was inside a sarcophagus complete with a death mask, a canopic jar – used by ancient Egyptians to store removed organs – and other artifacts. The ten-year-old, Alexander, made the mystery discovery while searching around his grandmother's flat in Diepholz, Germany.
Alexander's father, Lutz Wolfgang Kettler, a dentist, recalled that his own father had acquired a chest while travelling in north Africa in the 1950s and had it shipped back to Germany. The senior Mr. Kettler had apparently never spoken about the chest or its contents. "Mummy unwrapping parties" were popular among certain elements of German high society in the 1950s, he said.
6Egyptian Mummy "Dressed" in Roman Robes
The site contains at least 14 tombs from the era when ancient Rome controlled Egypt from 30 B.C. to A.D. 395. Jewelry, funerary masks, and pottery were also found, though the sand-covered tombs have been damaged by humidity and seeping groundwater. Measuring just 3.2 feet (97 centimeters) long and carved with the finery of an influential woman, the sarcophagus remains something of a mystery.
"When I saw it for the first time, I thought it was a dwarf. ... ," said Mahmoud Affifi, director of Cairo and Giza antiquities for Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities. "Maybe she was a small girl, but [even] now we don't know," he said.
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