I understand your great grandfather was a grave robber?
My family is Greek and they lived in Alexandria back when it was a Greek town. At that point there was a trade in mummy dust, which they called mummia, which was thought to be a cure all. Louis XIV actually used to carry mummia in a pouch and snort little bits of it. The problem was that by the late 19th century they didn’t have a bunch of old Egyptian mummies to dig up anymore. Instead, when criminals were executed, people would steal their bodies and take them to the middle of the Sahara and cover them in tar. They’d come back a year later, dig them up and sell them to apothecaries, where they’d get ground up. This was a burgeoning trade.
, and ossuary
expert Paul Koudounaris
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Dec 30, 2012 -
Ötzi the Iceman
died around 3,300 B.C., yet his body was preserved frozen in the Alps until 1991. DNA sequencing
of Neandertals (who died out about 35,000 years ago) suggests modern humans with ancestry outside of Africa carry a few percent of Neandertal genes due to interbreeding. Now (in a blog post knocking down a re-interpretation of the Neandertal DNA evidence) paleontologist John Hawks previews an upcoming publication of his examining Ötzi's DNA:
If we took as a baseline that Europeans have an average of 3.5 percent Neandertal, Ötzi would have around 5.5 percent (again, the actual percentage would be highly model-dependent). He has substantially greater sharing with Neandertals than any other recent person we have ever examined.
, Previously (Neandertals)
posted by Schmucko
on Aug 18, 2012 -
Atlas Obscura provides a Guide to Communist Mummies
, and there's plenty more online. Visit Lenin's Mausoleum
, where he has been kept since 1924, defying his wishes to be buried next to his mother in St. Petersburg
. He wasn't alone forever, as Stalin's body was kept in the mausoleum after his death in 1953
, until his body was quietly removed in October, 1961
. Just under eight years later, Hồ Chí Minh died
, and against his wishes to be cremated, a very large state funeral was held
and Uncle Ho's embalmed remains were placed in a mausoleum
. Chairman Mao Zedong made A Proposal that all Central Leaders be Cremated after Death
in 1956, but his wishes were overlooked when he died in 1976
, and he joined the growing ranks of the preserved communist leaders in his own crystal casket, housed in a grand mausoleum
. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief
on Nov 21, 2011 -
: history of the early horror films made by Universal Studios such as Dracula, Frankenstein, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, King Kong, The Mummy and many more. Directed by Kevin Brownlow
. Narrated by Kenneth Branagh. 1
posted by puny human
on May 16, 2011 -
Why do mummies scream? Are screaming mummies really testaments to horrific deaths? Or are they the result of natural processes, botched or ad hoc mummification jobs, or the depredations of tomb robbers?
Archaeology Online examines the science and history behind the gape-mouthed "masks of agony" seen on some mummies, and explores their portrayal in entertainment and pop culture. The article includes lots of interesting and informative additional links.
posted by amyms
on Mar 30, 2009 -
The Western press is heralding the discovery of the "world's oldest marijuana stash"
(789 grams) in the tomb of a 2,700-year-old blond-haired, blue-eyed mummy in the Xinjiang region of China (photo)
. The mummy is believed to be a Nordic-featured Gushi shaman from the Tarim Basin.
Scientists conjecture that the cannabis was being saved for use in the afterlife. In actuality, according to the Journal of Experimental Botany,
the stash is the oldest pot to be tested for its properties.
In 2006, the Chinese press
reported that Chinese scientists had unearthed an older marijuana "baggy" in a 2,800-year-old Caucasian shaman's Xinjiang tomb.
posted by terranova
on Nov 29, 2008 -
Long ago in the town of Palermo in Sicily some monks got together and decided that they wanted to start praying to one of their own after he had passed to the Great Beyond so they embalmed him
. Four hundred years and 8,000 corpses later you can see the Capuchin Catacombs
posted by euphorb
on Jul 11, 2004 -
There's mummies coming from Afghanistan
said yesterday's Horizon
on the BBC. This is the story of a supposedly 2600 year old mummified Persian princess. It was put up for sale for $11 million, but turned out to be a fraud and possibly contains the remains of a woman murdered in 1996. The mummy was probably manufactured somewhere in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region, well known these days....
posted by knutmo
on Sep 21, 2001 -
Last summer, lagado posted a link
on some interesting mummies found in a Chinese desert. This is an article
on the ensuing (and continuing) political problems they've caused.
posted by CRS
on May 14, 2001 -
So have you heard the one about the Golden Persian Princess Mummy?
Discovered in October by Pakistani police during a murder investigation of an antiquities smuggler, this story has only gotten weirder. Said to be 2,600-years-old, the body of a young woman has been preserved using the Egyptian
mummification process but bears cuneiform inscriptions in Old Persian: "I, daughter of Xerxes, the great king, I am Ruduamna". Since its discovery, the governments of Iran and Afghanistan have each claimed ownership of the mummy and all three countries are now engaged in a bitter war of claim and counter-claim. Now some experts are starting to say that the whole thing looks like it's just an elaborate hoax
posted by lagado
on Dec 26, 2000 -