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Egyptian animal mummies reveal their secrets to the digitizer

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Jan30,2024

Egyptian mummies of animals ;reveal their secrets to the digitizer

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One ​​of the mummies contains the remains of a kitten.

Agence France-Presse

Five thousand-year-old Egyptian mummies of cats, ibises, falcons and fish from the collection of the University of Strasbourg in France revealed their secrets, x-rayed for the first time in a veterinary clinic, under the direction of an archeology laboratory.

Acquired about a century ago by the Alsatian University, these five mummies measuring between 10 and 30 centimeters were x-rayed in the premises of the Strasbourg AgoraVeto clinic, under the leadership of the universities of Strasbourg and Haute -Alsace.

They have never been studied before, we want to know if there are indeed animals inside and in what condition, explains in the preamble Cassandre Hartenstein, project manager and Egyptologist at the ancient history laboratory and of Archimedes archeology at the University of Strasbourg.

Not all mummies found necessarily contain entire animals, or even any x27;animals at all, specifies Frédéric Colin, curator of the Egyptian collection at the University of Strasbourg. Until then, everything we know about it is based on the descriptions present in the inventories at the time of their acquisition.

With 15 years of experience on human and animal mummies, radiologist Samuel Mérigeaud shares his first hypotheses on what is hidden under the strips of these mummies 2000 to 3000 years old: The fish is whole and well preserved, he observes, while, on the other side of the glass, the imposing machine finishes scanning the first mummy. Given the appearance, I would rather go for a Nile perch.

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Cassandre Hartenstein places the mummies one by one on the clinic's scanner.< /p>

In addition to the fish, one of the two cat mummies and that of the falcon appear to be in an excellent state of preservation. Their necks were broken, notes the radiologist, pointing out the gap between the skull and the spine of the feline and the bird.

From my point of view, it is when the animal is not whole that it is the most interesting, enthuses Frédéric Colin, while the other mummy of a cat reveals only a pelvis, a spine and an unusually arranged bone, similar to a small femur.

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The practices of the Egyptians during the time of the pharaohs raise many questions. The objective is now to understand the gestures of embalmers, the mummification processes of animals thanks to the state in which they are, specifies Professor Colin.

The most exciting part is yet to come, concludes Cassandre Hartenstein. In the coming weeks, we will precisely carbon-14 date the mummies and probably take DNA samples.

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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