Mummy

Mummy

Overview
A mummy is a body, human or animal, whose skin
Human skin
The human skin is the outer covering of the body. In humans, it is the largest organ of the integumentary system. The skin has multiple layers of ectodermal tissue and guards the underlying muscles, bones, ligaments and internal organs. Human skin is similar to that of most other mammals,...

 and organs have been preserved by either intentional or incidental exposure to chemicals, extreme coldness (ice mummies), very low humidity
Humidity
Humidity is a term for the amount of water vapor in the air, and can refer to any one of several measurements of humidity. Formally, humid air is not "moist air" but a mixture of water vapor and other constituents of air, and humidity is defined in terms of the water content of this mixture,...

, or lack of air when bodies are submerged in bog
Bog
A bog, quagmire or mire is a wetland that accumulates acidic peat, a deposit of dead plant material—often mosses or, in Arctic climates, lichens....

s, so that the recovered body will not decay further if kept in cool and dry conditions. Some authorities restrict the use of the term to bodies deliberately embalmed with chemicals, but the use of the word to cover accidentally desiccated bodies goes back at least to the 1730s.

Mummies of humans and other animals have been found throughout the world, both as a result of natural preservation through unusual conditions, and as cultural artifacts to preserve the dead.
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Encyclopedia
A mummy is a body, human or animal, whose skin
Human skin
The human skin is the outer covering of the body. In humans, it is the largest organ of the integumentary system. The skin has multiple layers of ectodermal tissue and guards the underlying muscles, bones, ligaments and internal organs. Human skin is similar to that of most other mammals,...

 and organs have been preserved by either intentional or incidental exposure to chemicals, extreme coldness (ice mummies), very low humidity
Humidity
Humidity is a term for the amount of water vapor in the air, and can refer to any one of several measurements of humidity. Formally, humid air is not "moist air" but a mixture of water vapor and other constituents of air, and humidity is defined in terms of the water content of this mixture,...

, or lack of air when bodies are submerged in bog
Bog
A bog, quagmire or mire is a wetland that accumulates acidic peat, a deposit of dead plant material—often mosses or, in Arctic climates, lichens....

s, so that the recovered body will not decay further if kept in cool and dry conditions. Some authorities restrict the use of the term to bodies deliberately embalmed with chemicals, but the use of the word to cover accidentally desiccated bodies goes back at least to the 1730s.

Mummies of humans and other animals have been found throughout the world, both as a result of natural preservation through unusual conditions, and as cultural artifacts to preserve the dead. At this context, the oldest known naturally mummified human corpse is a decapitated head dated as 6,000 years old, found in 1936 at the site named Inca Cueva No. 4 in South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

 on the other hand, the oldest-known deliberate mummy is a child from the Camarones Valley in Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

, and dates from around 5050 BC., it belongs to Chinchorro mummies, that are dating to thousands of years before the Egyptian
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

 mummies (perhaps the most known and famous).

Deliberate mummification is a feature of some ancient South American cultures in areas which, like Egypt, have very dry climates. There are more than 1000 mummies in dry Xinjiang
Xinjiang
Xinjiang is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China. It is the largest Chinese administrative division and spans over 1.6 million km2...

, China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

. Over one million animal mummies have been found in Egypt, many of which are cats.

Etymology and meaning



The English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 word mummy is derived from medieval Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 mumia, a borrowing of the Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

  word mūm (موم) , which means "bitumen". Because of the blackened skin
Human skin
The human skin is the outer covering of the body. In humans, it is the largest organ of the integumentary system. The skin has multiple layers of ectodermal tissue and guards the underlying muscles, bones, ligaments and internal organs. Human skin is similar to that of most other mammals,...

, bitumen was once thought to be used extensively in ancient Egyptian embalming
Embalming
Embalming, in most modern cultures, is the art and science of temporarily preserving human remains to forestall decomposition and to make them suitable for public display at a funeral. The three goals of embalming are thus sanitization, presentation and preservation of a corpse to achieve this...

 procedures. (See also: Mummia
Mummia
Mummia, Mumia, or "Mummy" is either a substance used in the embalming of mummies, or a powder made from ground mummies, used as a "medical preparation"...

.) In English "mummy" as a term for a "medical preparation of the substance of mummies" is recorded from c. 1400, earlier than the sense of a complete body, with Richard Hakluyt
Richard Hakluyt
Richard Hakluyt was an English writer. He is principally remembered for his efforts in promoting and supporting the settlement of North America by the English through his works, notably Divers Voyages Touching the Discoverie of America and The Principal Navigations, Voiages, Traffiques and...

 in 1599 complaining that "these dead bodies are the Mummy which the Phisistians and Apothecaries doe against our willes make us to swallow".

The OED gives as its sense 3 "the body of a human being or animal enbalmed (according to the ancient Egyptian or some analogous method) as a preparation for burial", citing sources from 1615 onwards, later than the first uses of other senses that include ground up mummy used as "a medicinal preparation", which dates to c. 1400. However sense 3c: "A human or animal body desiccated by exposure to sun or air. Also applied to the frozen carcase of an animal imbedded in prehistoric ice", is cited to Chamber's Cyclopaedia, 1727-41, and the Victorian zoologist Francis Trevelyan Buckland
Francis Trevelyan Buckland
Francis Trevelyan Buckland was an English surgeon, zoologist, popular author and natural historian. He was the son of William Buckland, the noted geologist and palaeontologist.- Life :...

.

The Egyptian mummification process


The first evidence of intentional mummification in Egypt dates to 3500 B.C. Parts of mummified human bodies recovered from Hierakonpolis exhibit evidence of resin and linen wrappings.

The earliest intact Egyptian mummy, ID #32751, dates to approximately 3400 BC, and is currently held in the British Museum
British Museum
The British Museum is a museum of human history and culture in London. Its collections, which number more than seven million objects, are amongst the largest and most comprehensive in the world and originate from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its...

. Mummy 32751 was previously nicknamed "Ginger" for its hair color, but this practice was stopped in 2004, in order to afford more dignity to human remains. Mummy #32751 was an adult male; the exact age at death is uncertain. It was apparently preserved by direct contact with the dry desert sand, though it is uncertain whether the mummification was intended. Pottery vessels were recovered from the grave, but their significance is uncertain.

From the Middle Kingdom
Middle Kingdom of Egypt
The Middle Kingdom of Egypt is the period in the history of ancient Egypt stretching from the establishment of the Eleventh Dynasty to the end of the Fourteenth Dynasty, between 2055 BC and 1650 BC, although some writers include the Thirteenth and Fourteenth dynasties in the Second Intermediate...

 onwards, embalmers used salts to remove moisture from the body. The salt-like substance found on the banks of salt lakes, natron
Natron
Natron is a naturally occurring mixture of sodium carbonate decahydrate and about 17% sodium bicarbonate along with small quantities of household salt and sodium sulfate. Natron is white to colourless when pure, varying to gray or yellow with impurities...

, dried out and preserved more flesh than bone. Once dried, mummies were ritualistically anointed with oils and perfumes. The emptied body was then covered in natron, to speed up the process of dehydration
Dehydration
In physiology and medicine, dehydration is defined as the excessive loss of body fluid. It is literally the removal of water from an object; however, in physiological terms, it entails a deficiency of fluid within an organism...

 and prevent decomposition. Natron dries the body up faster than desert sand, preserving the body more effectively. Often finger and toe protectors were placed over the mummy's fingers and toes to prevent breakage. They were wrapped with strips of white linen to protect the body from being damaged. After that, they were wrapped in a sheet of canvas to further protect them. Many sacred charms and amulets were placed in and around the mummy and the wrappings. This was intended to protect the mummy from harm and to give good luck to the Ka
Egyptian soul
The ancient Egyptians believed that a human soul was made up of five parts: the Ren, the Ba, the Ka, the Sheut, and the Ib. In addition to these components of the soul there was the human body...

 of the mummy. Once preserved, they were lain to rest in a sarcophagus
Sarcophagus
A sarcophagus is a funeral receptacle for a corpse, most commonly carved or cut from stone. The word "sarcophagus" comes from the Greek σαρξ sarx meaning "flesh", and φαγειν phagein meaning "to eat", hence sarkophagus means "flesh-eating"; from the phrase lithos sarkophagos...

 inside a tomb, where it was believed that the mummy would rest eternally. The mummy's mouth would later be opened in a ritual designed to symbolize breathing
Opening of the mouth ceremony
The opening of the mouth ceremony was an ancient Egyptian ritual described in funerary texts such as the Pyramid Texts.-Funerary magic:...

, giving rise to legends about resurrected mummies. In some cases, a mummy has been discovered in an unmolested tomb, only to be found in a state of advanced decomposition due to the proximity of the water table. This was the case with the discovery in 1998 of the mummy of Iufaa
Iufaa
Iufaa was an Egyptian priest and administer of palaces who lived around 500 BC. His mummy was discovered in an unmolested tomb by Czech archaeologists including Ladislav Bares in February 1998. The discovery of an unmolested Egyptian tomb of this significance is a very rare occurrence...

, an Egyptian priest and administer who lived around 500 BC.

The most famous Egyptian mummies are those of Seti I
Seti I
Menmaatre Seti I was a Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt , the son of Ramesses I and Queen Sitre, and the father of Ramesses II...

 and Rameses II (13th century BC), though the earliest known Egyptian mummy, nicknamed 'Ginger
Ginger (mummy)
The Gebelein predynastic mummies are six naturally mummified bodies, dating to approximately 3400 BC from the Late Predynastic period of Egypt, and were the first complete pre-dynastic bodies to be discovered...

' for its hair color, dates back to approximately 3300 BC.

Scientific study of Egyptian mummies



Mummies were much sought-after by museums worldwide in the 19th and early 20th centuries and many exhibit mummies today. Notably fine examples are exhibited at the Egyptian Museum
Egyptian Museum
The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, known commonly as the Egyptian Museum, in Cairo, Egypt, is home to an extensive collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities. It has 120,000 items, with a representative amount on display, the remainder in storerooms....

 in Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

, at the Ägyptisches Museum in Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

, and at the British Museum
British Museum
The British Museum is a museum of human history and culture in London. Its collections, which number more than seven million objects, are amongst the largest and most comprehensive in the world and originate from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its...

 in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

. The Egyptian city of Luxor
Luxor
Luxor is a city in Upper Egypt and the capital of Luxor Governorate. The population numbers 487,896 , with an area of approximately . As the site of the Ancient Egyptian city of Thebes, Luxor has frequently been characterized as the "world's greatest open air museum", as the ruins of the temple...

 is also home to a specialized Mummification Museum
Mummification Museum
The Mummification Museum is located in the Egyptian city of Luxor. It stands on the corniche, in front of the Mina Palace Hotel, to the north of Luxor Temple, overlooking the River Nile....

. The mummified remains of what turned out to be Rameses I ended up in a Daredevil Museum near Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls
The Niagara Falls, located on the Niagara River draining Lake Erie into Lake Ontario, is the collective name for the Horseshoe Falls and the adjacent American Falls along with the comparatively small Bridal Veil Falls, which combined form the highest flow rate of any waterfalls in the world and has...

 on the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 border; records indicate that it had been sold to a Canadian in 1860 and exhibited alongside displays such as a two-headed calf for nearly 140 years, until the Michael C. Carlos Museum in Atlanta
Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta is the capital and most populous city in the U.S. state of Georgia. According to the 2010 census, Atlanta's population is 420,003. Atlanta is the cultural and economic center of the Atlanta metropolitan area, which is home to 5,268,860 people and is the ninth largest metropolitan area in...

, Georgia, which had acquired the mummy along with other artifacts, determined it to be royal and returned it to Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities
Supreme Council of Antiquities
The Supreme Council of Antiquities is the branch of the Egyptian Ministry of Culture responsible for the conservation, protection and regulation of all antiquities and archaeological excavations in Egypt...

. It is currently on display in the Luxor Museum
Luxor Museum
Luxor Museum is located in the Egyptian city of Luxor . It stands on the corniche, overlooking the west bank of the River Nile, in the central part of the city.Inaugurated in 1975, the museum is housed in a small, purpose-built building...

.

Modern scientific methods are being applied to mummies for archeological research. Mummies can be studied without the need to unwrap them using CAT scan and X-ray
X-ray
X-radiation is a form of electromagnetic radiation. X-rays have a wavelength in the range of 0.01 to 10 nanometers, corresponding to frequencies in the range 30 petahertz to 30 exahertz and energies in the range 120 eV to 120 keV. They are shorter in wavelength than UV rays and longer than gamma...

 machines to form a digital image of the body. This has been very useful to biologists
Biology
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

 and anthropologists
Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

, providing a wealth of information about the health and life expectancy
Life expectancy
Life expectancy is the expected number of years of life remaining at a given age. It is denoted by ex, which means the average number of subsequent years of life for someone now aged x, according to a particular mortality experience...

 of ancient people. In 2008, the latest generation CT scanners (64- and 256-slice Philips machines at the University of Chicago
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...

) were used to study Meresamun
Meresamun
Meresamun was an ancient Egyptian singer-priestess in the inner sanctum at the temple in Karnak. Her mummy, ca. 800 BC, is on exhibit at the Oriental Institute of Chicago Museum of the University of Chicago...

, a temple singer and priestess at the Temple of Amun
Amun
Amun, reconstructed Egyptian Yamānu , was a god in Egyptian mythology who in the form of Amun-Ra became the focus of the most complex system of theology in Ancient Egypt...

 whose mummy now resides at the Oriental Institute of Chicago. Mummies have also been used in medicine
Medicine
Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....

 to calibrate CAT scan machines at levels of radiation
Ionizing radiation
Ionizing radiation is radiation composed of particles that individually have sufficient energy to remove an electron from an atom or molecule. This ionization produces free radicals, which are atoms or molecules containing unpaired electrons...

 that would be too dangerous for living people.


Scientists interested in molecular cloning
Molecular cloning
Molecular cloning refers to a set of experimental methods in molecular biology that are used to assemble recombinant DNA molecules and to direct their replication within host organisms...

 the DNA
DNA
Deoxyribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms . The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in...

 of mummies have reported findings of analyzable DNA in an Egyptian mummy dating to c. 400 BC. Although analysis of the hair of Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

ian mummies from the Late Middle Kingdom
Middle Kingdom of Egypt
The Middle Kingdom of Egypt is the period in the history of ancient Egypt stretching from the establishment of the Eleventh Dynasty to the end of the Fourteenth Dynasty, between 2055 BC and 1650 BC, although some writers include the Thirteenth and Fourteenth dynasties in the Second Intermediate...

 has revealed evidence of a stable diet, Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

ian mummies from c. 3200 BC show signs of severe anaemia
Anemia
Anemia is a decrease in number of red blood cells or less than the normal quantity of hemoglobin in the blood. However, it can include decreased oxygen-binding ability of each hemoglobin molecule due to deformity or lack in numerical development as in some other types of hemoglobin...

 and hemolytic disorders
Hematology
Hematology, also spelled haematology , is the branch of biology physiology, internal medicine, pathology, clinical laboratory work, and pediatrics that is concerned with the study of blood, the blood-forming organs, and blood diseases...

.

Dr. Bob Brier
Bob Brier
Robert Brier , also known as Mr. Mummy, is an American Egyptologist specializing in paleopathology. A Senior Research Fellow at the C.W...

 of Long Island University
Long Island University
Long Island University is a private, coeducational, nonsectarian institution of higher education in the U.S. state of New York.-History:...

 has been the first modern scientist attempting to apply ancient Egyptian methods of mummification.

Post-interment care


Of special interest are finds that may testify to the beliefs of the ancient population of Egypt. In two Neolithic cemeteries, skulls were found that indicated tooth replacement in antiquity. In both cases, the teeth were apparently collected and repositioned by people during later burials. Also in the same cemetery, four bracelets were found encircling a right humerus, which had been moved from its original position, during the deposition of a later burial. However, the bracelets were maintained in place by the insertion of the individual’s own right ulna and radius that had been fractured post-mortem. Such manipulation suggests that the intention was to repair the damage caused during the insertion of later interments. These intentions are supported by the discoveries, of two skulls with mis-positioned teeth. In one case, the right orbit contained eighteen of the individual’s teeth; in the other, the nasal aperture contained one tooth.

All of these examples suggest a deep conviction about the importance of body preservation, i.e., keeping the body together, ideally in an undisturbed state. Perhaps this was necessary to secure eternal life––similar to the belief that is so popular throughout all of ancient Egyptian civilization.

South America


South American cultures provide a mixture of deliberately prepared mummies, in the dry areas on the Pacific coast of Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

 and southern Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

, and naturally mummified remains, mostly found high in the Andes
Andes
The Andes is the world's longest continental mountain range. It is a continual range of highlands along the western coast of South America. This range is about long, about to wide , and of an average height of about .Along its length, the Andes is split into several ranges, which are separated...

 mountains. The prepared Chinchorro mummies, are the oldest prepared mummified bodies ever found, ranging from about 5000-3000 BC, and apparently come from a society where all human burials were prepared for mummification. The bodies were carefully prepared, using three different techniques at different periods, but the cold, dry climate also aided desiccating the corpses and preserving them intact. Bodies in the Nazca
Nazca
Nazca is a system of valleys on the southern coast of Peru, and the name of the region's largest existing town in the Nazca Province. It is also the name applied to the Nazca culture that flourished in the area between 300 BC and AD 800...

 Chauchilla Cemetery
Chauchilla Cemetery
Chauchilla Cemetery is a cemetery that contains prehispanic mummified human remains and archeological artifacts, located thirty kilometers south of the city of Nazca in Peru.-History:...

, from about AD 200-900, were also carefully prepared.

Some of the best-preserved natural mummies date from the Inca period in Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

 and Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

 some 500 years ago, where children were ritually sacrificed on the summits of mountains in the Andes
Andes
The Andes is the world's longest continental mountain range. It is a continual range of highlands along the western coast of South America. This range is about long, about to wide , and of an average height of about .Along its length, the Andes is split into several ranges, which are separated...

. In 1995, the frozen body, not desiccated and so not strictly a mummy, of a 11- to 14-year-old Inca
Inca Empire
The Inca Empire, or Inka Empire , was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. The administrative, political and military center of the empire was located in Cusco in modern-day Peru. The Inca civilization arose from the highlands of Peru sometime in the early 13th century...

 girl who had died some time between 1440 and 1450 was discovered on Mount Ampato in southern Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

. Known as "Mummy Juanita
Mummy Juanita
Momia Juanita , also known as the Inca Ice Maiden and Lady of Ampato, is the well-preserved frozen body of an Incan girl who was killed as an offering to the Inca gods sometime between 1450 and 1480, at approximately 11–15 years old...

" ("Momia Juanita" in Spanish) or "The Ice Maiden", some archaeologists believe that she was a human sacrifice
Human sacrifice
Human sacrifice is the act of killing one or more human beings as part of a religious ritual . Its typology closely parallels the various practices of ritual slaughter of animals and of religious sacrifice in general. Human sacrifice has been practised in various cultures throughout history...

 to the Inca mountain god
Inca mythology
Inca mythology includes many stories and legends that are mythological and helps to explain or symbolizes Inca beliefs.All those that followed the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire by Francisco Pizarro burned the records of the Inca culture...

 Apus.
In Chile, there is 'Miss Chile', a well preserved Tiwanaku era mummy. She is currently kept by the Gustavo Page Museum in San Pedro de Atacama. The atacaman community decided to stop displaying the mummies of their ancestor, as a sign of respect to their forefathers. Three child mummies, discovered in 1999 on Mount Llullaillaco
Llullaillaco
Llullaillaco is a stratovolcano at the border of Argentina and Chile. It lies in the Puna de Atacama, a region of very high volcanic peaks on a high plateau within the Atacama Desert, one of the driest places in the world...

, 6700 m above sea level, are on display at the Museum of High Altitude Archaeology in Salta, Argentina.
In addition to the ancient Chachapoyas
Chachapoyas culture
The Chachapoyas, also called the Warriors of the Clouds, were an Andean people living in the cloud forests of the Amazonas region of present-day Peru. The Incas conquered their civilization shortly before the arrival of the Spanish in Peru. When the Spanish arrived in Peru in the 16th century, the...

 peoples, mummies are associated with the Chazuta culture of the Peruvian Upper Amazon http://fudes-unsm.org/museo/la-seccion-de-antropologia-del-museo-regional-unsm/cultura/antropologia/arqueologia/urnas-funerarias/

Canary Islands




The aboriginal
Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

 guanches
Guanches
Guanches is the name given to the aboriginal Berber inhabitants of the Canary Islands. It is believed that they migrated to the archipelago sometime between 1000 BCE and 100 BCE or perhaps earlier...

 of the Canary Islands
Canary Islands
The Canary Islands , also known as the Canaries , is a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The Canaries are a Spanish autonomous community and an outermost region of the European Union...

 embalmed their dead; many mummies have been found in an extreme state of desiccation, each weighing not more than 6 or 7 pounds. Their method was similar to that of the ancient Egyptians
Egyptians
Egyptians are nation an ethnic group made up of Mediterranean North Africans, the indigenous people of Egypt.Egyptian identity is closely tied to geography. The population of Egypt is concentrated in the lower Nile Valley, the small strip of cultivable land stretching from the First Cataract to...

. The process of embalming seems to have varied. In Tenerife
Tenerife
Tenerife is the largest and most populous island of the seven Canary Islands, it is also the most populated island of Spain, with a land area of 2,034.38 km² and 906,854 inhabitants, 43% of the total population of the Canary Islands. About five million tourists visit Tenerife each year, the...

, the corpse was simply wrapped up in goat and sheep skins, while on other islands, a resinous substance was used to preserve the body, which was then placed in a cave difficult to access, or buried under a tumulus
Tumulus
A tumulus is a mound of earth and stones raised over a grave or graves. Tumuli are also known as barrows, burial mounds, Hügelgrab or kurgans, and can be found throughout much of the world. A tumulus composed largely or entirely of stones is usually referred to as a cairn...

. Although many areas of Tenerife also treated the body with vegetal elements. The work of embalming was reserved for a special class, women for female corpses, men for male. Embalming seems not to have been universal, and bodies were often simply hidden in caves or buried. The method used by the aborigines of the island of Tenerife was the most perfect, because their mummies are the best preserved and most famous of the islands and Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

. Of the mummies, guanches stand out Mummy of San Andrés
Mummy of San Andrés
The Mummy of San Andrés is a human mummy belonging to the Guanche culture .One of the best preserved Guanche mummies, it is a male of about 25 to 30 years partially covered with goatskin with 6 strips that surround it. The mummy was found in a cave in a ravine outside the village of San Andrés...

 in the Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre
Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre
Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre , , is a museum based in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Tenerife, . It contains many significant archaeological finds and is considered the best repository of objects from the Prehispanic Canary Islands...

 (Tenerife). The Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre is a world reference in regard to preservation of mummies.

Italy


The Capuchin catacombs of Palermo
Capuchin catacombs of Palermo
The Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo are burial catacombs in Palermo, Sicily, southern Italy...

 are burial catacombs in Palermo
Palermo
Palermo is a city in Southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Province of Palermo. The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old...

, Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

, southern Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

. Today they provide a somewhat macabre
Macabre
In works of art, macabre is the quality of having a grim or ghastly atmosphere. Macabre works emphasize the details and symbols of death....

 tourist attraction as well as an extraordinary historical record.

Palermo's Capuchin
Order of Friars Minor Capuchin
The Order of Friars Minor Capuchin is an Order of friars in the Catholic Church, among the chief offshoots of the Franciscans. The worldwide head of the Order, called the Minister General, is currently Father Mauro Jöhri.-Origins :...

 monastery
Monastery
Monastery denotes the building, or complex of buildings, that houses a room reserved for prayer as well as the domestic quarters and workplace of monastics, whether monks or nuns, and whether living in community or alone .Monasteries may vary greatly in size – a small dwelling accommodating only...

 outgrew its original cemetery
Cemetery
A cemetery is a place in which dead bodies and cremated remains are buried. The term "cemetery" implies that the land is specifically designated as a burying ground. Cemeteries in the Western world are where the final ceremonies of death are observed...

 in the 16th century and monks began to excavate crypt
Crypt
In architecture, a crypt is a stone chamber or vault beneath the floor of a burial vault possibly containing sarcophagi, coffins or relics....

s below it. In 1599 they mummified one of their number, recently-dead brother Silvestro of Gubbio, and placed him into the catacombs. Originally the catacombs were intended only for the dead friar
Friar
A friar is a member of one of the mendicant orders.-Friars and monks:...

s. However, in the following centuries it became a status symbol to be entombed into the Capuchin catacombs.

The bodies were dehydrated on the racks of ceramic pipes in the catacombs and sometimes later washed with vinegar
Vinegar
Vinegar is a liquid substance consisting mainly of acetic acid and water, the acetic acid being produced through the fermentation of ethanol by acetic acid bacteria. Commercial vinegar is produced either by fast or slow fermentation processes. Slow methods generally are used with traditional...

. Some of the bodies were embalmed
Embalming
Embalming, in most modern cultures, is the art and science of temporarily preserving human remains to forestall decomposition and to make them suitable for public display at a funeral. The three goals of embalming are thus sanitization, presentation and preservation of a corpse to achieve this...

 and others enclosed in sealed glass cabinets. Monks were preserved with their everyday clothing and sometimes with ropes they had worn as a penance
Penance
Penance is repentance of sins as well as the proper name of the Roman Catholic, Orthodox Christian, and Anglican Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation/Confession. It also plays a part in non-sacramental confession among Lutherans and other Protestants...

.

One of the most popular mummies at the Capuchin catacombs is that of Rosalia Lombardo
Rosalia Lombardo
Rosalia Lombardo was an Italian child born in 1918 in Palermo, Sicily. She died of pneumonia on December 6, 1920. Rosalia's father, General Lombardo, was sorely grieved upon her death, so he approached Alfredo Salafia, a noted embalmer, to preserve her...

 who died in 1920. After Rosalia's death, her father had Alfredo Salafia mummify the girl's body, with a method of which was unknown until recently. Rosalia Lombardo's body has begun to discolor, which is a sign of decomposition.

Natural mummification


Mummies that are formed as a result of naturally-occurring environmental conditions, such as extreme coldness (Ötzi the Iceman
Ötzi the Iceman
Ötzi the Iceman , Similaun Man, and Man from Hauslabjoch are modern names for a well-preserved natural mummy of a man who lived about 5,300 years ago. The mummy was found in September 1991 in the Ötztal Alps, near Hauslabjoch on the border between Austria and Italy. The nickname comes from the...

, the Ice Maiden, the Llullaillaco
Llullaillaco
Llullaillaco is a stratovolcano at the border of Argentina and Chile. It lies in the Puna de Atacama, a region of very high volcanic peaks on a high plateau within the Atacama Desert, one of the driest places in the world...

 child mummies), acid (Tollund Man
Tollund Man
The Tollund Man is the naturally mummified corpse of a man who lived during the 4th century BC, during the time period characterised in Scandinavia as the Pre-Roman Iron Age. He was found in 1950 buried in a peat bog on the Jutland Peninsula in Denmark, which preserved his body. Such a find is...

), salinity
Salinity
Salinity is the saltiness or dissolved salt content of a body of water. It is a general term used to describe the levels of different salts such as sodium chloride, magnesium and calcium sulfates, and bicarbonates...

 (Salt Man
Salt Man
The Saltman was discovered in Iran, in the Chehrabad salt mines located on the southern part of the Hamzehlu village, on the west side of the city of Zanjan, in the Zanjan Province...

), or desiccating dryness
Desiccation
Desiccation is the state of extreme dryness, or the process of extreme drying. A desiccant is a hygroscopic substance that induces or sustains such a state in its local vicinity in a moderately sealed container.-Science:...

 (Tarim mummies
Tarim mummies
The Tarim mummies are a series of mummies discovered in the Tarim Basin in present-day Xinjiang, China, which date from 1900 BC to 200 AD. Some of the mummies are frequently associated with the presence of the Indo-European Tocharian languages in the Tarim Basin, although the evidence is not...

), have been found all over the world. More than a thousand Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

 corpses, so called bog bodies
Bog body
Bog bodies, which are also known as bog people, are the naturally preserved human corpses found in the sphagnum bogs in Northern Europe. Unlike most ancient human remains, bog bodies have retained their skin and internal organs due to the unusual conditions of the surrounding area...

, have been found in bog
Bog
A bog, quagmire or mire is a wetland that accumulates acidic peat, a deposit of dead plant material—often mosses or, in Arctic climates, lichens....

s in northern Europe, such as the Yde Girl
Yde Girl
Yde Girl is a bog body found in the Stijfveen peat bog near the village of Yde, Netherlands. She was found on 12 May 1897 and was reputedly uncannily well-preserved when discovered , but by the time the body was turned over to the authorities a fortnight later it had been severely damaged and...

 and the Lindow Man
Lindow man
Lindow Man, also known as Lindow II and as Pete Marsh, is the preserved bog body of a man discovered in a peat bog at Lindow Moss near Wilmslow in Cheshire, North West England. The body was found on 1 August 1984 by commercial peat-cutters...

. Natural mummification of other animal species also occurs; this is most common in species from shallow saline water
Saline water
Saline water is a general term for water that contains a significant concentration of dissolved salts . The concentration is usually expressed in parts per million of salt....

 environments, especially those with a body structure which is particularly favourable to this process, such as seahorse
Seahorse
Seahorses compose the fish genus Hippocampus within the family Syngnathidae, in order Syngnathiformes. Syngnathidae also includes the pipefishes. "Hippocampus" comes from the Ancient Greek hippos meaning "horse" and kampos meaning “sea monster”.There are nearly 50 species of seahorse...

s and starfish. Old mummies such as the dinosaurs Leonardo, Dakota
Dakota (fossil)
Dakota is the nickname given to a fossil Edmontosaurus from the Hell Creek Formation in North Dakota. It is about 67 million years old, placing it in the Maastrichtian, the last stage of the Cretaceous period...

, and the Trachodon mummy in America were very valuable discoveries.

China


In China a few mummies were found, with complete bodies and organs (brains, stomachs were also present from 2,500 year old mummies), and are able to be moved and articulated with care.

Siberia


In the summer of 1989, a team of Russian archaeologists led by Dr. Natalia Polosmak
Natalia Polosmak
Natalia Victorovna Polosmak is a Russian archaeologist specialising in the Eurasian nomads, especially those known as the Pazyryk, an ancient people who lived in the Altay Mountains in Siberian Russia...

 discovered the Siberian Ice Maiden in a sacred area known as the Pastures of Heaven, on the Pontic-Caspian steppe
Pontic-Caspian steppe
The Pontic-Caspian steppe is the vast steppeland stretching from the north of the Black Sea as far as the east of the Caspian Sea, from western Ukraine across the Southern Federal District and the Volga Federal District of Russia to western Kazakhstan,...

 in the Altay Mountains
Altay Mountains
The Altai Mountains are a mountain range in East-Central Asia, where Russia, China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan come together, and where the rivers Irtysh and Ob have their sources. The Altai Mountains are known as the original locus of the speakers of Turkic as well as other members of the proposed...

 near the Mongolia
Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

n border. Mummified, then frozen by unusual climatic conditions in the 5th century BC. along with six decorated horses and a symbolic meal for her last journey, she is believed to have been a shaman
Shamanism
Shamanism is an anthropological term referencing a range of beliefs and practices regarding communication with the spiritual world. To quote Eliade: "A first definition of this complex phenomenon, and perhaps the least hazardous, will be: shamanism = technique of ecstasy." Shamanism encompasses the...

 of the lost Pazyryk culture
Pazyryk culture
The Pazyryk culture is an Iron Age archaeological culture identified by excavated artifacts and mummified humans found in the Siberian permafrost in the Altay Mountains. The mummies are buried in long barrows similar to the tomb mounds of western Scythian culture in modern Ukraine...

. Her body was covered with vivid blue tattoos of mythical animal figures. The best preserved tattoos were images of a donkey
Donkey
The donkey or ass, Equus africanus asinus, is a domesticated member of the Equidae or horse family. The wild ancestor of the donkey is the African Wild Ass, E...

, a mountain ram
Argali
The argali, or the mountain sheep is a wild sheep, which roams the highlands of Central Asia . It is the biggest wild sheep, standing at the shoulder, measuring long and weighing , with a maximum known weight of...

, two highly stylized deer
Deer
Deer are the ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. Species in the Cervidae family include white-tailed deer, elk, moose, red deer, reindeer, fallow deer, roe deer and chital. Male deer of all species and female reindeer grow and shed new antlers each year...

 with long antlers and an imaginary carnivore
Carnivore
A carnivore meaning 'meat eater' is an organism that derives its energy and nutrient requirements from a diet consisting mainly or exclusively of animal tissue, whether through predation or scavenging...

 on the right arm. A man found with her (nicknamed "Conan") was also discovered, with tattoos of two monsters resembling griffin
Griffin
The griffin, griffon, or gryphon is a legendary creature with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle...

s decorating his chest and three partially obliterated images which seem to represent two deer and a mountain goat on his left arm. The Ice Maiden has been a source of controversy, as alleged improper care after her removal from the ice resulted in rapid decay of the body; and since the breakup of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, the Altai Republic
Altai Republic
Altai Republic is a federal subject of Russia . Its capital is the town of Gorno-Altaysk. The area of the republic is . Population: -Geography:...

 has demanded the return of various "stolen" artifacts, including the Ice Maiden, who is currently stored in Novosibirsk
Novosibirsk
Novosibirsk is the third-largest city in Russia, after Moscow and Saint Petersburg, and the largest city of Siberia, with a population of 1,473,737 . It is the administrative center of Novosibirsk Oblast as well as of the Siberian Federal District...

 in Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

.

Italy


Natural mummification is rare, requiring specific conditions to occur, but it has produced some of the oldest known mummies. The most famous ancient mummy is Ötzi the Iceman
Ötzi the Iceman
Ötzi the Iceman , Similaun Man, and Man from Hauslabjoch are modern names for a well-preserved natural mummy of a man who lived about 5,300 years ago. The mummy was found in September 1991 in the Ötztal Alps, near Hauslabjoch on the border between Austria and Italy. The nickname comes from the...

, frozen in a glacier
Glacier
A glacier is a large persistent body of ice that forms where the accumulation of snow exceeds its ablation over many years, often centuries. At least 0.1 km² in area and 50 m thick, but often much larger, a glacier slowly deforms and flows due to stresses induced by its weight...

 in the Ötztal Alps
Ötztal Alps
The Ötztal Alps are a mountain range in the central Alps of Europe, part of the Central Eastern Alps. They are arrayed at the head of the Ötztal, a side valley of the Inn River southwest of Innsbruck, Austria; the line of summits forms part of Austria's border with Italy.The western border is the...

 around 3300 BC and found in 1991. Also in the Umbria
Umbria
Umbria is a region of modern central Italy. It is one of the smallest Italian regions and the only peninsular region that is landlocked.Its capital is Perugia.Assisi and Norcia are historical towns associated with St. Francis of Assisi, and St...

 region mummies were discovered in 1805 http://www.aziendeumbre.it/html/view_mummie.ferentillo.grotte.terni.umbria.html in Ferentillo
Ferentillo
Ferentillo is a comune in the Province of Terni in the Italian region Umbria, located about 60 km southeast of Perugia and about 12 km northeast of Terni...

. These are twenty natural mummies, the most ancient of which dates four centuries and the most recent is from the 19th century.

Czech Republic



About 30 bodies are preserved at the Kapucínská Krypta ("Capuchin
Order of Friars Minor Capuchin
The Order of Friars Minor Capuchin is an Order of friars in the Catholic Church, among the chief offshoots of the Franciscans. The worldwide head of the Order, called the Minister General, is currently Father Mauro Jöhri.-Origins :...

 crypt") in Brno
Brno
Brno by population and area is the second largest city in the Czech Republic, the largest Moravian city, and the historical capital city of the Margraviate of Moravia. Brno is the administrative centre of the South Moravian Region where it forms a separate district Brno-City District...

, including that of Baron Franz von der Trenck. Natural ventilation is thought to be responsible for the desiccation and preservation of the bodies. The oldest corpse is Kuneš James Rosenthal, who died in 1658.

Bog bodies


The United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, the Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, and Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 have produced a number of bog bodies, mummies of people deposited in sphagnum bogs
Bog
A bog, quagmire or mire is a wetland that accumulates acidic peat, a deposit of dead plant material—often mosses or, in Arctic climates, lichens....

, apparently as a result of murder or ritual sacrifices. In such cases, the acidity of the water, cold temperature and lack of oxygen combined to tan the body's skin and soft tissues. The skeleton typically disintegrates over time. Such mummies are remarkably well-preserved on emerging from the bog, with skin and internal organs intact; it is even possible to determine the deceased's last meal by examining the stomach
Stomach
The stomach is a muscular, hollow, dilated part of the alimentary canal which functions as an important organ of the digestive tract in some animals, including vertebrates, echinoderms, insects , and molluscs. It is involved in the second phase of digestion, following mastication .The stomach is...

. A famous case is that of the Haraldskær Woman
Haraldskær Woman
The Haraldskær Woman is an Iron Age bog body found naturally preserved in a bog in Jutland, Denmark. Labourers discovered the body in 1835 while excavating peat on the Haraldskær Estate...

, who was discovered by labourers in a bog in Jutland
Jutland
Jutland , historically also called Cimbria, is the name of the peninsula that juts out in Northern Europe toward the rest of Scandinavia, forming the mainland part of Denmark. It has the North Sea to its west, Kattegat and Skagerrak to its north, the Baltic Sea to its east, and the Danish–German...

 in 1835. She was erroneously identified as an early medieval Danish queen, and for that reason was placed in a royal sarcophagus
Sarcophagus
A sarcophagus is a funeral receptacle for a corpse, most commonly carved or cut from stone. The word "sarcophagus" comes from the Greek σαρξ sarx meaning "flesh", and φαγειν phagein meaning "to eat", hence sarkophagus means "flesh-eating"; from the phrase lithos sarkophagos...

 at the Saint Nicolai Church, Vejle
Vejle
Vejle is a town in Denmark, in the southeast of the Jutland Peninsula at the head of Vejle Fjord, where the Vejle and Grejs Rivers and their valleys converge. It is the site of the councils of Vejle Municipality and the Region of Southern Denmark...

, where she currently remains.

Greenland


In 1972, eight remarkably preserved mummies were discovered at an abandoned Inuit
Inuit
The Inuit are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Canada , Denmark , Russia and the United States . Inuit means “the people” in the Inuktitut language...

 settlement called Qilakitsoq
Qilakitsoq
Qilakitsoq is an archaeological site on Nuussuaq Peninsula, on the shore of Uummannaq Fjord in northwestern Greenland. Formally a settlement, it is famous for the discovery of eight mummified bodies in 1972.- Archaeological finds :...

, in Greenland
Greenland
Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe for...

. The "Greenland Mummies" consisted of a six-month old baby, a four year old boy, and six women of various ages, who died around 500 years ago. Their bodies were naturally mummified by the sub-zero temperatures and dry winds in the cave in which they were found. The oldest preserved mummy in North America is Kwäday Dän Ts’ìnchi
Kwäday Dän Ts’ìnchi
Kwäday Dän Ts'ìnchi , or Canadian Ice Man, is a naturally mummified body found in Tatshenshini-Alsek Park in British Columbia, Canada, by a group of hunters in 1999. Radiocarbon dating of artifacts found with the body placed the age of the body at between 300 and 550 years old...

 ("Long ago person found" in the Southern Tutchone
Southern Tutchone
The Southern Tutchone are a First Nations people living mainly in the southern Yukon in Canada. The Southern Tutchone language, originally spoken by the Southern Tutchone people is a variety of the Tutchone language, part of the Athabaskan language family, although it may be argued that Northern...

 language of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations
Champagne and Aishihik First Nations
The Champagne and Aishihik First Nations is a First Nation in the Yukon Territory in Canada. Its original population centres were Champagne and Aishihik, but most of its citizens moved to Haines Junction to take advantage of services offered there such as schools. The First Nation government has...

), found in August 1999 by three First Nations hunters at the edge of a glacier in Tatshenshini-Alsek Park
Tatshenshini-Alsek Park
Tatshenshini-Alsek Park or Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Wilderness Park is a provincial park in British Columbia, Canada . It was established in 1993 after an intensive campaign by Canadian and American conservation organizations to halt mining exploration and development in the area and protect...

. It was determined that he had died about 550 years ago and that his preserved remains were the oldest discovered in North America.

Mexico



Intentional mummification was uncommon in pre-Columbian Mexico
Pre-Columbian Mexico
The pre-Columbian history of the territory now within the contemporary nation of Mexico is known through the work of archaeologists and epigraphers, and through the accounts of the conquistadors, clergymen, and indigenous chroniclers of the immediate post-conquest period...

, though some examples have been found. Regardless of context, intentionally mummified remains that have been excavated in Mexico are commonly referred to as Aztec mummies
Aztec mummy
Aztec mummy refers to an intentionally-prepared or naturally-desiccated human body of Aztec origin.-Ceremonial preparation vs. natural desiccation:...

. Public knowledge of Aztec mummies was due to traveling exhibits in the 19th and 20th centuries, though these just as likely used naturally mummified human bodies.

Natural mummification has been known to occur in several places in Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, though the most famous are the mummies of Guanajuato
Mummies of Guanajuato
The Mummies of Guanajuato are a number of naturally mummified bodies interred during a cholera outbreak around Guanajuato, Mexico in 1833. These mummies were discovered in a cemetery located in Guanajuato, which has made the city one of the biggest tourist attractions in Mexico...

. A collection of these mummies, most of which date to the late 19th century, have been on display at El Museo de las Momias in the city of Guanajuato
Guanajuato, Guanajuato
Guanajuato is a city and municipality in central Mexico and the capital of the state of the same name. It is located in a narrow valley, which makes the streets of the city narrow and winding. Most are alleys that cars cannot pass through, and some are long sets of stairs up the mountainsides....

 since 1970. The museum claims to have the smallest mummy in the world on display (a mummified fetus
Fetus
A fetus is a developing mammal or other viviparous vertebrate after the embryonic stage and before birth.In humans, the fetal stage of prenatal development starts at the beginning of the 11th week in gestational age, which is the 9th week after fertilization.-Etymology and spelling variations:The...

). It was thought that minerals in the soil had the preserving effect, however it may rather be due to the warm, arid climate. Mexican mummies are also on display in the small town of Encarnación de Díaz
Encarnación de Díaz
Encarnación de Díaz is a town and municipality located in the far northeast of the state of Jalisco in north central Mexico. It is located in a natural pass that connects the Los Altos region of Jalisco to points north, and from pre Hispanic times until the 20th century, it was a major thoroughfare...

, Jalisco
Jalisco
Jalisco officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Jalisco is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is located in Western Mexico and divided in 125 municipalities and its capital city is Guadalajara.It is one of the more important states...

.

Self-mummification



Monks whose bodies remain incorrupt
Incorruptibility
Incorruptibility is a Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox belief that supernatural intervention allows some human bodies to avoid the normal process of decomposition after death as a sign of their holiness...

 without any traces of deliberate mummification are venerated by some Buddhists who believe they successfully were able to mortify their flesh to death. Self-mummification was practiced until the late 1800s in Japan and has been outlawed since the early 1900s.

Many Mahayana Buddhist monks were reported to know their time of death and left their last testaments and their students accordingly buried them sitting in lotus position
Lotus position
The Lotus Position is a cross-legged sitting posture originating in meditative practices of ancient India, in which the feet are placed on the opposing thighs. It is an established posture, commonly used for meditation, in the Hindu Yoga and Buddhist contemplative traditions...

, put into a vessel with drying agents (such as wood
Wood
Wood is a hard, fibrous tissue found in many trees. It has been used for hundreds of thousands of years for both fuel and as a construction material. It is an organic material, a natural composite of cellulose fibers embedded in a matrix of lignin which resists compression...

, paper
Paper
Paper is a thin material mainly used for writing upon, printing upon, drawing or for packaging. It is produced by pressing together moist fibers, typically cellulose pulp derived from wood, rags or grasses, and drying them into flexible sheets....

, or lime
Calcium oxide
Calcium oxide , commonly known as quicklime or burnt lime, is a widely used chemical compound. It is a white, caustic, alkaline crystalline solid at room temperature....

) and surrounded by bricks, to be exhumed later, usually after three years. The preserved bodies would then be decorated with paint and adorned with gold.

Victor H. Mair
Victor H. Mair
Victor Henry Mair is a Philologist specializing in Sinitic and Indo-European languages, and holds the position of Professor of Chinese Language and Literature in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, United States...

 claims that the self-mummification of a Tibetan monk, who died ca. 1475 and whose body was retrieved relatively incorrupt in the 1970s, was achieved by the sophisticated practices of meditation, coupled with prolonged starvation and slow self-suffocation using a special belt that connected the neck with his knees in a lotus position
Lotus position
The Lotus Position is a cross-legged sitting posture originating in meditative practices of ancient India, in which the feet are placed on the opposing thighs. It is an established posture, commonly used for meditation, in the Hindu Yoga and Buddhist contemplative traditions...

.

Bodies purported to be those of self-mummified monks are exhibited in several Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

ese shrines, and it has been claimed that the monks, prior to their death, stuck to a sparse diet made up of salt, nuts
Nut (fruit)
A nut is a hard-shelled fruit of some plants having an indehiscent seed. While a wide variety of dried seeds and fruits are called nuts in English, only a certain number of them are considered by biologists to be true nuts...

, seed
Seed
A seed is a small embryonic plant enclosed in a covering called the seed coat, usually with some stored food. It is the product of the ripened ovule of gymnosperm and angiosperm plants which occurs after fertilization and some growth within the mother plant...

s, root
Root
In vascular plants, the root is the organ of a plant that typically lies below the surface of the soil. This is not always the case, however, since a root can also be aerial or aerating . Furthermore, a stem normally occurring below ground is not exceptional either...

s, pine bark, and urushi tea. Some of them were buried alive in a pine-wood box full of salt.

Modern mummies



In the 1830s, Jeremy Bentham
Jeremy Bentham
Jeremy Bentham was an English jurist, philosopher, and legal and social reformer. He became a leading theorist in Anglo-American philosophy of law, and a political radical whose ideas influenced the development of welfarism...

, the founder of utilitarianism
Utilitarianism
Utilitarianism is an ethical theory holding that the proper course of action is the one that maximizes the overall "happiness", by whatever means necessary. It is thus a form of consequentialism, meaning that the moral worth of an action is determined only by its resulting outcome, and that one can...

, left instructions to be followed upon his death which led to the creation of a sort of modern-day mummy. He asked that his body be displayed to illustrate how the "horror at dissection originates in ignorance"; once so displayed and lectured about, he asked that his body parts be preserved, including his skeleton (minus his skull, which despite being mis-preserved, was displayed beneath his feet until theft required it to be stored elsewhere), which were to be dressed in the clothes he usually wore and "seated in a Chair usually occupied by me when living in the attitude in which I am sitting when engaged in thought." His body, outfitted with a wax head created because of problems preparing it as Bentham requested, is on open display in the University College London
University College London
University College London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom and the oldest and largest constituent college of the federal University of London...

.

During the early 20th century the Russian movement of Cosmism, as represented by Nikolaj Fedorov, envisioned scientific resurrection of dead people. The idea was so popular that, after Lenin's death, Leonid Krasin
Leonid Krasin
Leonid Borisovich Krasin July 1870, Kurgan – November 24, 1926) was a Russian and Soviet Bolshevik politician and diplomat.-Early years:Krasin was born in Kurgan, near Tobol'sk in Siberia. His father, Boris Ivanovich Krasin was the local chief of police...

 and Alexander Bogdanov
Alexander Bogdanov
Alexander Aleksandrovich Bogdanov –7 April 1928, Moscow) was a Russian physician, philosopher, science fiction writer, and revolutionary of Belarusian ethnicity....

 suggested to cryonically preserve
Cryonics
Cryonics is the low-temperature preservation of humans and animals who can no longer be sustained by contemporary medicine, with the hope that healing and resuscitation may be possible in the future. Cryopreservation of people or large animals is not reversible with current technology...

 his body and brain in order to revive him in the future. Necessary equipment was purchased abroad, but for a variety of reasons the plan was not realized. Instead his body was embalmed
Embalming
Embalming, in most modern cultures, is the art and science of temporarily preserving human remains to forestall decomposition and to make them suitable for public display at a funeral. The three goals of embalming are thus sanitization, presentation and preservation of a corpse to achieve this...

 and placed on permanent exhibition in the Lenin Mausoleum
Lenin's Mausoleum
Lenin's Mausoleum also known as Lenin's Tomb, situated in Red Square in the center of Moscow, is the mausoleum that serves as the current resting place of Vladimir Lenin. His embalmed body has been on public display there since shortly after his death in 1924...

 in Moscow, where it is displayed to this day. The mausoleum itself was modeled by Aleksey Shchusev on the Pyramid of Djoser
Pyramid of Djoser
The Pyramid of Djoser , or step pyramid is an archeological remain in the Saqqara necropolis, Egypt, northwest of the city of Memphis. It was built during the 27th century BC for the burial of Pharaoh Djoser by Imhotep, his vizier...

 and the Tomb of Cyrus
Tomb of Cyrus
The Tomb of Cyrus is the burial place of the ancient Cyrus the Great of Persia. The tomb is located in Iran, at the Pasargadae World Heritage Site. Cyrus the Great , or Cyrus II of Persia was a Persian Shahenshah , who founded of the Persian Empire under the Achaemenid dynasty...

.

In the state of Guanajuato
Guanajuato
Guanajuato officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Guanajuato is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 46 municipalities and its capital city is Guanajuato....

, Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, mummies were discovered
Mummies of Guanajuato
The Mummies of Guanajuato are a number of naturally mummified bodies interred during a cholera outbreak around Guanajuato, Mexico in 1833. These mummies were discovered in a cemetery located in Guanajuato, which has made the city one of the biggest tourist attractions in Mexico...

 in a cemetery of a city named Guanajuato
Guanajuato, Guanajuato
Guanajuato is a city and municipality in central Mexico and the capital of the state of the same name. It is located in a narrow valley, which makes the streets of the city narrow and winding. Most are alleys that cars cannot pass through, and some are long sets of stairs up the mountainsides....

 northwest of Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

 (near León). They are accidental modern mummies and were literally "dug up" between the years 1896 and 1958 when a local law required relatives of the deceased to pay a kind of grave tax. The Guanajuato mummies are on display in the Museo de las momias, high on a hill overlooking the city. Another notable example of natural mummification in modern times is Christian Friedrich von Kahlbutz
Christian Friedrich von Kahlbutz
Christian Friedrich von Kahlbutz was a German knight, who is today most famous because of the state of preservation of his body; no noticeable mummification process was used upon his death...

 (1651–1702), whose body is on exhibit in his native Kampehl.

In 1994, 265 mummified bodies were found in the crypt of a Dominican
Dominican Order
The Order of Preachers , after the 15th century more commonly known as the Dominican Order or Dominicans, is a Catholic religious order founded by Saint Dominic and approved by Pope Honorius III on 22 December 1216 in France...

 church in Vác
Vác
Vác is a town in Pest county in Hungary with approximately 35,000 inhabitants. The archaic spellings of the name are Vacz and Vacs.-Location:...

, Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 from the 1729-1838 period. The discovery proved to be scientifically important, and by 2006 an exhibition was established in the Museum of Natural History in Budapest
Budapest
Budapest is the capital of Hungary. As the largest city of Hungary, it is the country's principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, and transportation centre. In 2011, Budapest had 1,733,685 inhabitants, down from its 1989 peak of 2,113,645 due to suburbanization. The Budapest Commuter...

. In March 2006, the body of the Greek Orthodox Monk
Monk
A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism, living either alone or with any number of monks, while always maintaining some degree of physical separation from those not sharing the same purpose...

 Vissarion Korkoliacos
Vissarion Korkoliacos
Vissarion Korkoliacos , also spelled as Visarion or Vissarion Korkoliakos, , was a Greek Orthodox monk of the Agathonos Monastery, close to Lamia, Central Greece...

 was found intact in his tomb, after fifteen years in the grave. The event has led to a dispute between those who believe the preservation to be a miracle
Miracle
A miracle often denotes an event attributed to divine intervention. Alternatively, it may be an event attributed to a miracle worker, saint, or religious leader. A miracle is sometimes thought of as a perceptible interruption of the laws of nature. Others suggest that a god may work with the laws...

 and those who claimed the possibility of natural mummification.

Commercial mummification



In 1975, an esoteric organization by the name of Summum
Summum
Summum is a religion and philosophy that began in 1975 as a result of Claude "Corky" Nowell's claimed encounter with beings he described as "Summa Individuals"...

 introduced "Modern Mummification", a service that uses modern techniques along with aspects of ancient methods. The organization considers animals and people to have an essence
Essence
In philosophy, essence is the attribute or set of attributes that make an object or substance what it fundamentally is, and which it has by necessity, and without which it loses its identity. Essence is contrasted with accident: a property that the object or substance has contingently, without...

 that continues following the death of the body, and their mummification process is meant to preserve the body as a means to aid the essence as it transitions to a new destination.

Rather than using a dehydration process that was typical of ancient mummies, Summum uses a chemical process which includes leaving the body submerged in a tank of preservation fluid for several months. Summum claims its process preserves the body so well that the DNA will remain intact far into the future, leaving open the possibility for cloning
Cloning
Cloning in biology is the process of producing similar populations of genetically identical individuals that occurs in nature when organisms such as bacteria, insects or plants reproduce asexually. Cloning in biotechnology refers to processes used to create copies of DNA fragments , cells , or...

 should science perfect the technique on humans.

The first person to formally undergo Summum's process of modern mummification was the founder of Summum, Summum Bonum Amen Ra
Claude Nowell
Claude Rex Nowell, also known as Corky King, Corky Ra, and Summum Bonum Amon Ra , was the founder of Summum, a 501, philosophical and religious organization that practices a modern form of mummification which has become known worldwide.-Biography:Nowell was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, in the...

 aka Corky Ra, who died in January 2008. His body is encased inside a bronze mummiform (casket) that is covered in gold and stands inside the organization's pyramid. Summum is further discussed in the book The Scientific Study of Mummies by Arthur C. Aufderheide.

Plastination



Plastination
Plastination
Plastination is a technique or process used in anatomy to preserve bodies or body parts. The water and fat are replaced by certain plastics, yielding specimens that can be touched, do not smell or decay, and even retain most properties of the original sample....

 is a technique used in anatomy
Anatomy
Anatomy is a branch of biology and medicine that is the consideration of the structure of living things. It is a general term that includes human anatomy, animal anatomy , and plant anatomy...

 to conserve bodies or body parts. The water
Water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

 and fat
Fat
Fats consist of a wide group of compounds that are generally soluble in organic solvents and generally insoluble in water. Chemically, fats are triglycerides, triesters of glycerol and any of several fatty acids. Fats may be either solid or liquid at room temperature, depending on their structure...

 are replaced by certain plastic
Plastic
A plastic material is any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic solids used in the manufacture of industrial products. Plastics are typically polymers of high molecular mass, and may contain other substances to improve performance and/or reduce production costs...

s, yielding specimens that can be touched, do not smell or decay, and even retain most microscopic properties of the original sample.

The technique was invented by Gunther von Hagens
Gunther von Hagens
Gunther von Hagens is a controversial German anatomist who invented the technique for preserving biological tissue specimens called plastination.-Early life:...

 when working at the anatomical institute of the University of Heidelberg in 1978. Von Hagens has patented the technique in several countries and is heavily involved in its promotion, especially as the creator and director of the Body Worlds
Body Worlds
Body Worlds is a traveling exhibition of preserved human bodies and body parts that are prepared using a technique called plastination to reveal inner anatomical structures...

 traveling exhibitions, exhibiting plastinated human bodies internationally. He also founded and directs the Institute for Plastination in Heidelberg
Heidelberg
-Early history:Between 600,000 and 200,000 years ago, "Heidelberg Man" died at nearby Mauer. His jaw bone was discovered in 1907; with scientific dating, his remains were determined to be the earliest evidence of human life in Europe. In the 5th century BC, a Celtic fortress of refuge and place of...

.

More than 40 institutions worldwide have facilities for plastination, mainly for medical research and study, and most affiliated to the International Society for Plastination.

Treatment of ancient mummies in modern times


In the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, based on a mistranslation from the Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 term for bitumen, it was thought that mummies possessed healing properties. As a result, it became common practice to grind Egyptian mummies into a powder to be sold and used as medicine. When actual mummies became unavailable, the sun-desiccated
Desiccation
Desiccation is the state of extreme dryness, or the process of extreme drying. A desiccant is a hygroscopic substance that induces or sustains such a state in its local vicinity in a moderately sealed container.-Science:...

 corpses of criminals, slaves and suicidal
Suicide
Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Suicide is often committed out of despair or attributed to some underlying mental disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, or drug abuse...

 people were substituted by mendacious merchants. The practice developed into a wide-scale business that flourished until the late 16th century. Two centuries ago, mummies were still believed to have medicinal properties to stop bleeding, and were sold as pharmaceuticals in powdered form as in mellified man
Mellified Man
Mellified man, or human mummy confection, was a legendary medicinal substance created by steeping a human cadaver in honey. The concoction is mentioned only in Chinese sources, most significantly the Bencao Gangmu of the 16th-century Chinese pharmacologist Li Shizhen...

.
Artists also made use of Egyptian mummies; a brownish paint known as Caput mortuum
Caput mortuum
Caput Mortuum is a Latin term whose literal meaning is "dead head" or "worthless remains", used in alchemy and also as the name of a pigment.-Alchemy and chemistry:...

(Latin for death's head) was originally made from the wrappings of mummies. It was most popular in the 17th century, but was discontinued in the early 19th century when its composition became generally known to artists. Many thousands of mummified cats were also sent from Egypt to England to be processed for use in fertilizer
Fertilizer
Fertilizer is any organic or inorganic material of natural or synthetic origin that is added to a soil to supply one or more plant nutrients essential to the growth of plants. A recent assessment found that about 40 to 60% of crop yields are attributable to commercial fertilizer use...

.

During the 19th century, following the discovery of the first tombs and artifacts in Egypt, Egyptology was a huge fad in Europe, especially in Victorian England
Victorian era
The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence...

. European aristocrats would occasionally entertain themselves by purchasing mummies, having them unwrapped, and holding observation sessions. These sessions destroyed hundreds of mummies, because the exposure to the air caused them to disintegrate.

An urban myth
Urban legend
An urban legend, urban myth, urban tale, or contemporary legend, is a form of modern folklore consisting of stories that may or may not have been believed by their tellers to be true...

 of mummies being used as fuel
Fuel
Fuel is any material that stores energy that can later be extracted to perform mechanical work in a controlled manner. Most fuels used by humans undergo combustion, a redox reaction in which a combustible substance releases energy after it ignites and reacts with the oxygen in the air...

 for locomotives
Steam locomotive
A steam locomotive is a railway locomotive that produces its power through a steam engine. These locomotives are fueled by burning some combustible material, usually coal, wood or oil, to produce steam in a boiler, which drives the steam engine...

 was even popularized by Mark Twain
Mark Twain
Samuel Langhorne Clemens , better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist...

, but the truth of the story remains debatable. During the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, mummy-wrapping linens were said to have been used to manufacture paper
Paper
Paper is a thin material mainly used for writing upon, printing upon, drawing or for packaging. It is produced by pressing together moist fibers, typically cellulose pulp derived from wood, rags or grasses, and drying them into flexible sheets....

. Evidence for the reality of these claims is still equivocal.

In popular culture




Mummies are commonly featured in horror genres as undead
Undead
Undead is a collective name for fictional, mythological, or legendary beings that are deceased and yet behave as if alive. Undead may be incorporeal, such as ghosts, or corporeal, such as vampires and zombies...

 creatures. One of the earliest examples of this is The Mummy!: Or a Tale of the Twenty-Second Century
The Mummy!
The Mummy!: Or a Tale of the Twenty-Second Century is an 1827 novel written by Jane C. Loudon. It concerns an Egyptian mummy named Cheops who is brought back in to life in the 22nd century...

, an 1827 novel written by Jane C. Loudon
Jane C. Loudon
Jane C. Webb Loudon was an early pioneer of science fiction, long before the term was invented, so that she was discussed for a century as a writer of Gothic fiction or fantasy or horror, though she did none of these things as we now categorize fiction...

. This early, science-fiction work concerns an Egyptian mummy named Cheops, who is brought back in to life in the 22nd century.

During the 20th century, horror film
Horror film
Horror films seek to elicit a negative emotional reaction from viewers by playing on the audience's most primal fears. They often feature scenes that startle the viewer through the means of macabre and the supernatural, thus frequently overlapping with the fantasy and science fiction genres...

s and other mass media popularized the notion of a curse
Curse
A curse is any expressed wish that some form of adversity or misfortune will befall or attach to some other entity—one or more persons, a place, or an object...

 associated with mummies (see Curse of the pharaohs
Curse of the Pharaohs
The curse of the pharaohs refers to the belief that any person who disturbs the mummy of an Ancient Egyptian pharaoh is placed under a curse.There are occasional instances of curses appearing inside or on the facade of a tomb as in the case of the mastaba of Khentika Ikhekhi of the 6th dynasty at...

). One of the earliest appearances was The Jewel of Seven Stars
The Jewel of Seven Stars
The Jewel of Seven Stars is a horror novel by Bram Stoker, first published in 1903. The story is about an archaeologist's plot to revive Queen Tera, an ancient Egyptian mummy.-Second edition:...

, a horror novel by Bram Stoker
Bram Stoker
Abraham "Bram" Stoker was an Irish novelist and short story writer, best known today for his 1897 Gothic novel Dracula...

 first published in 1903 that concerned an archaeologist's plot to revive an ancient Egyptian mummy. This book later served as the basis for the 1971 film Blood from the Mummy's Tomb
Blood from the Mummy's Tomb
Blood from the Mummy's Tomb is a 1971 British film starring Andrew Keir, Valerie Leon, and James Villiers. This was director Seth Holt's final film, and was adapted from Bram Stoker's novel The Jewel of Seven Stars. The film was released as the support feature to Dr...

.

Films representing such a belief include the 1932 movie The Mummy starring Boris Karloff
Boris Karloff
William Henry Pratt , better known by his stage name Boris Karloff, was an English actor.Karloff is best remembered for his roles in horror films and his portrayal of Frankenstein's monster in Frankenstein , Bride of Frankenstein , and Son of Frankenstein...

 as Imhotep
Imhotep (character)
Imhotep is a fictional character and the titular antagonist in the 1932 film The Mummy, and later featured in its 1999 remake and its sequel The Mummy Returns again as one of the main antagonists...

; four subsequent 1940s' Universal Studios
Universal Studios
Universal Pictures , a subsidiary of NBCUniversal, is one of the six major movie studios....

 mummy films which featured a mummy named Kharis
Kharis
Kharis is a fictional character featured in Universal Studios's Mummy series in the 1940s following their original 1932 film The Mummy, which starred Boris Karloff as a different mummy character, Imhotep...

, who also was the title mummy in The Mummy
The Mummy (1959 film)
The Mummy is a 1959 Technicolor British Hammer Horror film starring Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.Though the title suggests Universal Pictures' 1932 film of the same name, the film actually derives its plot and characters entirely from two later Universal films, The Mummy's Hand and The Mummy's...

, a 1959 Hammer remake of The Mummy's Hand
The Mummy's Hand
The Mummy's Hand is a black-and-white horror film, produced by Ben Pivar for Universal Studios. Although it is sometimes claimed by fans as a sequel or follow-up to the 1932 film The Mummy, it does not continue the 1932 film's storyline, or feature any of the same characters, and its plot...

and The Mummy's Tomb
The Mummy's Tomb
The Mummy's Tomb is the 1942 sequel to The Mummy's Hand .Lon Chaney, Jr. disliked the role of Kharis the mummy. Make-up artist Jack Pierce spent up to eight hours to wrap Lon Chaney. A rubber mask was used for long shots...

; and a remake of the original film that was released in 1999 (and later spawned two direct sequels and prequels and a spinoff movie). The belief in cursed mummies probably stems in part from the supposed curse on the tomb of Tutankhamun
Tutankhamun
Tutankhamun , Egyptian , ; approx. 1341 BC – 1323 BC) was an Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th dynasty , during the period of Egyptian history known as the New Kingdom...

. In 1979, the American Broadcasting Company
American Broadcasting Company
The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...

 aired a TV holiday show, The Halloween That Almost Wasn't
The Halloween That Almost Wasn't
The Halloween That Almost Wasn't is a 1979 telefilm which aired regularly on the Disney Channel until the late 1990s. It revolves around Dracula trying to save Halloween from the Witch who threatens it. It won an Emmy Award for "Outstanding Individual Achievement - Children's Program" and was...

, in which a mummy from Egypt (Robert Fitch) arrived at Count Dracula
Count Dracula
Count Dracula is a fictional character, the titular antagonist of Bram Stoker's 1897 Gothic horror novel Dracula and archetypal vampire. Some aspects of his character have been inspired by the 15th century Romanian general and Wallachian Prince Vlad III the Impaler...

's castle without speaking.

The 1922 discovery of Tutankhamun
Tutankhamun
Tutankhamun , Egyptian , ; approx. 1341 BC – 1323 BC) was an Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th dynasty , during the period of Egyptian history known as the New Kingdom...

's tomb by archaeologist Howard Carter
Howard Carter (archaeologist)
Howard Carter was an English archaeologist and Egyptologist, noted as a primary discoverer of the tomb of Tutankhamun.-Beginning of career:...

 brought mummies into the mainstream. Slapstick
Slapstick
Slapstick is a type of comedy involving exaggerated violence and activities which may exceed the boundaries of common sense.- Origins :The phrase comes from the batacchio or bataccio — called the 'slap stick' in English — a club-like object composed of two wooden slats used in Commedia dell'arte...

 comedy trio the Three Stooges
Three Stooges
The Three Stooges were an American vaudeville and comedy act of the early to mid–20th century best known for their numerous short subject films. Their hallmark was physical farce and extreme slapstick. In films, the Stooges were commonly known by their first names: "Moe, Larry, and Curly" and "Moe,...

 humorously exploited the discovery in the short film We Want Our Mummy
We Want Our Mummy
We Want Our Mummy is the 37th short subject starring American slapstick team the Three Stooges. The trio made a total of 190 shorts for Columbia Pictures between 1934 and 1959.-Plot:Two museum curators We Want Our Mummy is the 37th short subject starring American slapstick team the Three Stooges....

, in which they explored the tomb
Tomb
A tomb is a repository for the remains of the dead. It is generally any structurally enclosed interment space or burial chamber, of varying sizes...

 of the midget
Midget
A midget is a short person with relatively average bodily proportions in comparison with other human beings. The term is often improperly used to describe a person with the medical condition dwarfism. The two terms are often used synonymously because both terms originate as words defining small...

 King Rutentuten (and his Queen, Hotsy Totsy). A decade later, they played crooked used chariot
Chariot
The chariot is a type of horse carriage used in both peace and war as the chief vehicle of many ancient peoples. Ox carts, proto-chariots, were built by the Proto-Indo-Europeans and also built in Mesopotamia as early as 3000 BC. The original horse chariot was a fast, light, open, two wheeled...

 salesmen in Mummy's Dummies
Mummy's Dummies
Mummy's Dummies is the 111th short subject starring American slapstick comedy team the Three Stooges. The trio made a total of 190 shorts for Columbia Pictures between 1934 and 1959.-Plot:The Stooges are used chariot salesmen in Ancient Egypt...

, in which they ultimately assisted a different King Rootentootin (Vernon Dent
Vernon Dent
Vernon Bruce Dent was a comic actor who appeared in over 400 films in his career. He co-starred in many short films for Columbia Pictures, frequently as the foil to the Three Stooges.-Early career:...

) with a toothache.

Robot mummies featured in a Doctor Who
Doctor Who
Doctor Who is a British science fiction television programme produced by the BBC. The programme depicts the adventures of a time-travelling humanoid alien known as the Doctor who explores the universe in a sentient time machine called the TARDIS that flies through time and space, whose exterior...

story, Pyramids of Mars
Pyramids of Mars
Pyramids of Mars is a serial in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was first broadcast in four weekly parts from 25 October to 15 November 1975.-Synopsis:...

, in the 1970s, while the Hammer Horror film series had also included what had become a stock genre character. A new Hollywood series of films featuring an immortal undead High Priest began with The Mummy
The Mummy (1999 film)
The Mummy is a 1999 American adventure film written and directed by Stephen Sommers and starring Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah and Kevin J. O'Connor, with Arnold Vosloo in the title role as the reanimated mummy. The film features substantial dialogue in ancient Egyptian language, spoken...

in 1999.

See also


wazz up my name is henry
  • Embalming
    Embalming
    Embalming, in most modern cultures, is the art and science of temporarily preserving human remains to forestall decomposition and to make them suitable for public display at a funeral. The three goals of embalming are thus sanitization, presentation and preservation of a corpse to achieve this...

  • Incorruptibility
    Incorruptibility
    Incorruptibility is a Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox belief that supernatural intervention allows some human bodies to avoid the normal process of decomposition after death as a sign of their holiness...

  • List of mummies
  • List of DNA tested mummies

External links