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Tulane - ANTH - Class Notes - Week 4

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Tulane - ANTH - Class Notes - Week 4

School: Tulane University
Department: Evolutionary Anthropology
Course: Bioarchaeology of Mummies
Term: Spring 2019
Tags: Mummies, bioarchaeology, and Egypt
Name: Bioarchaeology of Mummies Week 4 Notes
Description: These notes cover the methods to study mummies, history of heart disease found in mummies, and the evolution of mummification techniques throughout history in Egypt. The three unit readings are also included with my personal notes and analyses.
Uploaded: 02/10/2019
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background image Bioarchaeology of Mummies Week 4 Notes 2/4/19 • Radiography (contd.) • pathology • forward angulation of spine=TB • CT (Computer-Assisted Tomography) • 1971-
• limitations=gantry size
• mummy doesn't fit • advantages over plain film X-Rays • cross sections clarify objects that overlap in X-Rays
• scans can be manipulated to focus on different densities (bone, soft tissue, cloth, etc.)
• 3D reconstructions
• MRI • great imaging of soft tissue in living patients, doesn't work on dry mummies -> requires  water or fat
• can work on bog bodies
• new 2007 study shows it can work • other analytical tools increasingly being used • chemical/bio-molecular • trace elements (lead)
• stable isotopes (carbon, nitrogen, strontium, oxygen): diet and mobility
• aDNA
• Mummies and heart disease: new and briefly controversial study of Egyptian mummies • atherosclerosis- a disease of the arteries characterized by the deposition of plaques of fatty  material on their inner walls • early reports • aortic calcification found in old Egyptian woman mummy in 1852
• calcifications of multiple mummies in 1911
• coronary arteries and evidence of a heart attack in 1931
• the Horus study • use mummies from Egyptian National Museum of Antiques
• ID atherosclerosis
• CT: multislide
• 52 Egyptian mummies from Middle Kingdom- Greco-Roman period
• consensus of 7 radiologists
• results
• blood vessels seen in 44/52
• 20 have “definite” or “probable calcified deposits
• age=important; sex=not
• *most significant for heart disease=coronary artery atherosclerosis
• cause of death unknown for all
• SES • 10/25 mummies of known social status=priests/priestesses
• mummy with worst leg calcifications=scribe
• early critique of these studies • really arterial plaque or postmortem artifact? • blood clots or other tissue changes with decomposition?
background image Bioarchaeology of Mummies Week 4 Notes • *but closely correspond to modern cases • the mummies compared to 178 modern Egyptian patients (Cairo) • 108/178 have vascular calcifications 
• correlates strongly with age
• “striking” correlation involving distribution and number of arteries
• risk factors
• diet rich in fat, smoking, lack of exercise, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity  (modern) • chronic infections and inflammation; smoke inhalation from indoor fires • mummies from other geographic areas • atherosclerosis found in all populations 2/6/18 • Mummification in ancient Egypt • ancient Egypt produced some of the world’s best-preserved mummies
• principal sources of information on Egyptian mummification
• Egyptian art from tombs
• classical Greek and Roman historians (unclear how they got their info, still standard 
source)
• Herodotus
• described 3 mummification options, based on price • most expensive: brain removed with an iron hook, evisceration through an abdominal  incision, body covered in Natron for 70 days, then wrapped in resin-soaked linen • medium price: no evisceration; body injected with cedar oil through the anus, then  covered in Natron. Cedar oil (and liquified organs) then drained • bargain price: no treatment of internal organs, Natron only • Diodorus Siculus  • Roman historian, 400 years after Herodotus, also describes Egyptian mummification
• borrows heavily from Herodotus, but adds a few details
• person making abdominal incision for evisceration has to run away (for defiling a  body) • embalmers were a “hereditary guild” • reliability? • neither were eyewitnesses to classical Egyptian mummification
• problems: 
• translating Greek (“soaking” the body in Natron)
• accuracy of substances used (cedar or juniper? “gum”= resin? bitumen?)
• Natron was key to Egyptian mummification • salt that dried out bodies
• Hydrous Sodium Carbonate
• principle source: Wadi Natrun, 65km NW of Cairo
• lake with evaporation deposits along perimeter • archaeological excavation and laboratory study of mummies • important in clarifying some of the questions raised by historic descriptions
• some important early players
• Thomas Pettigrew (1791-1865) • the first systematic mummy dissections

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School: Tulane University
Department: Evolutionary Anthropology
Course: Bioarchaeology of Mummies
Term: Spring 2019
Tags: Mummies, bioarchaeology, and Egypt
Name: Bioarchaeology of Mummies Week 4 Notes
Description: These notes cover the methods to study mummies, history of heart disease found in mummies, and the evolution of mummification techniques throughout history in Egypt. The three unit readings are also included with my personal notes and analyses.
Uploaded: 02/10/2019
5 Pages 76 Views 60 Unlocks
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