Weatherford Democrat

Obituaries

November 19, 2013

New study sheds light on 'meat mummies' in ancient tombs

So you've gone through all the trouble of mummifying a loved one. You've hired embalmers to remove her organs, treat her body with a precise mixture of oils and balms, and carefully wrap her in bandages. You've spared no expense on a lavish tomb, beautifully decorated and stuffed with riches. You've even mummified her pets, all to make sure she will fully enjoy her afterlife. There's just one last question: What is your beloved mummy going to eat for the rest of eternity?

For some ancient Egyptians, the answer included meat. In King Tutankhamun's tomb, for example, archaeologists found 48 wooden cases of butchered cuts of beef and poultry. But unlike offerings of fruit and grains, which could last for quite a while once dehydrated and placed in dry tombs, pieces of meat required special treatment. After just a few hours in the desert heat, "they will become a terrible mess if you don't take some steps to preserve them," says Richard Evershed, an archaeological chemist at the University of Bristol in England. The solution? Mummify.

Now, a team of researchers led by Evershed is shedding light on the embalming processes used to create these so-called meat mummies. The work fills a gap when it comes to studying mummies from ancient Egypt, says Andrew Wade, a bioarchaeologist at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, who was not involved with the research. "We've done quite a bit on human Egyptian mummies and even a fair bit on animal mummies," he explains. "But the meat mummies . . . they'd been sort of left on their own."

To find out which chemicals were used to mummify meat, Evershed and his team used mass spectroscopy to analyze samples of the bandages taken from four meat mummies housed in Egypt's Cairo Museum and the British Museum in London. For some of the meat mummies, such as a calf that had been prepared as food and placed in a tomb dated between 1070 and 945 B.C.E. and a goat leg mummified around 1290 B.C.E., the only preservative was some type of animal fat smeared over the bandages.

Text Only
Obituaries
  • Grace E. Jones

    Grace E. Jones, 91, died Monday, July 21, 2014.

    July 23, 2014

  • Katherine Faye Daniel Brown

    BRECKENRIDGE — Katherine Faye Daniel Brown, 93, died Sunday, July 20, 2014, in DeLeon. 

    July 22, 2014

  • Kelley Ann Aylesworth Queen

    Kelley Ann Aylesworth Queen, 54, died of natural causes on July 13, 2014.

    July 22, 2014

  • Maggie Curtis Maggie Curtis

    Maggie Curtis passed away Sunday, July 20, 2014, at the age of 80. 

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Charles M. Linehan Charles M. Linehan

    WEATHERFORD — Charles M. Linehan, 81, beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend, passed away Sunday, July 20, 2014.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lyndia Faye Bullock Lyndia Faye Bullock

    FORT WORTH — Lyndia Faye Bullock, 66, beloved mom, granny, daughter, sister and friend, passed away Friday, July 18, 2014, at home with her family.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jewel Allene Williams

    Jewel Allene Williams, 98, of Springtown, passed away Friday afternoon, July 18, 2014, in the local hospital. 

    July 19, 2014

  • Ronald Witt Hobbs

    Ronald Witt Hobbs, age 79, passed away on Thursday, July 17, 2014, in Weatherford, Texas. 

    July 17, 2014

  • Larry Drew Cook Larry Drew Cook

    Larry Drew Cook, 69, of Hudson Oaks, passed away Monday, June 14, 2014. Larry was born Nov. 9, 1944, in Muncie, Indiana, to Mildred and Norman Cook.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ruby Emerson Ruby Emerson

    Ruby Emerson, age 96, entered heaven praising God in the presence of her Savior on Tuesday, July 15, 2014. 

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video
Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Gen. Odierno Discusses Ukraine, NATO at Forum Gaza Fighting Rages Amid Cease-Fire Efforts Mint Gives JFK Coin a Face-lift Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast