Ancient Egyptian Mummies

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This attractively designed and colourfully illustrated book offers a brief overview of the history of Egyptian mummification. With clear pictures and short, informative text entries, the book describes a range of Egyptian mummies, from early people whose bodies were accidentally dried out in the desert sand, to the amazing mummies of the New Kingdom, whose every fingernail and hair has been perfectly preserved. Last of all come the mummies of Roman Egypt, with their beautiful and realistically detailed portrait masks. The book also shows the range of coffins, masks and grave goods which were found with these mummies, and builds up a fascinating picture of mummification in ancient Egypt. Published to accompany Mummy: the inside story, a major exhibition at the British Museum which uses the latest electronic scanning techniques to uncover the secrets of a mummy called Nesperennub.

The idea of mummifying the dead may have been suggested by how well corpses were preserved in the arid sands of the country. Strikingly, the mummies were more closely related to ancient Europeans and Anatolians than to modern Egyptians. The researchers say that there was probably a pulse of sub-Saharan African DNA into ... It was very important to ancient Egyptian religious beliefs that the human body was preserved.

It is the era of some of the most famous kings, Sneferu and Khufu, in ancient Egypt. Until recently, it was believed that the earliest ancient Egyptian mummies were created naturally due to the environment in which they were buried. In 2014, an 11-year study by University of York, Macquarie University and University of Oxford suggested that artificial mummification occurred 1,500 years earlier than first thought. Depending on which way you see it, ancient Egyptians have the privilege or ignominy of being one of the most investigated peoples of antiquity.