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Monday, 08 August 2022, 02:04 (02:04 AM) CDT, day 220 of 2022

Prehistoric Cultures

Fall 2012 Calendar -- DAY  [archive]

Fall 2012 Calendar  -- EVENING [archive]

Dates and Times to Remember 

class slides on-line 

Monday, 08 August 2022, 07:04 (07:04 AM) GMT, day 220 of 2022
. . . in History 
  . . . in Headlines

      Babel Fish Translation 
~ translate this page

OWL logo, Online Writing Lab, Purdue University.



In the News

 "Ötzi"  The Iceman
 The Iceman

see also
Tutankhamun -- "King Tut"



List of mummies
Chinchorro Mummies [Japan]
List of DNA tested mummies
Category: Mummies
Category: Human remains (archaeological)
bog bodies

In the news . . .

From The Scout Report

Archaeology: Screaming Mummies


Archaeology, the Archaeological Institute of America primary publication, offers some of the magazine's content on their website, including news of events, links to other sites of archaeological interest, writing guidelines for submissions to the publication and online features. Here, visitors can find their online feature "Screaming Mummies" and for visitors who haven't seen a screaming mummy, prepare to be disturbed. Screaming mummies have been found in Egypt and other countries, and this article is teeming with photos, reading suggestions, and online resources that give a well-rounded explanation about why these mummies look as if they have died at a moment of agony. The images on the page can all be zoomed in on, by clicking on the magnifying glass that appears when the mouse rolls over an image. Understanding the anatomy of the jaw will help to understand the occurrence of screaming mummies. Visitors should scroll to the middle of the page, where they will find numerous hyperlinks, such as "The Mandible (Lower Jaw)", "Mouth Closure", and "Human Decomposition After Death" that lead to in-depth explanations. For the truly inquisitive, the box entitled Rigor Mortis for Dummies, also in the middle of the page, offers links to several more online resources. [KMG]


CBC News: Scientists Unravel Secret of Mummy Embalming

Nature: Ancient Materials: Analysis of a Pharaonic Embalming Tar

Encyclopedia Smithsonian: Egyptian Mummies

Animal Mummies in the Cairo Museum

National Geographic: At the Tomb of Tutankhamen

Akhet Egyptology

Utilizing a method described by Pliny the Elder (the first encyclopaedist), chemists from Tuebingen University and the Doerner-Institut have tracked the preservative used in the mummification process to an extract of the cedar tree. For many years, many Egyptologists believed that the embalming oil was extracted from juniper rather than cedar. Through their experiments, the team of scientists replicated an ancient treatment of cedar wood and found that it contained a preservative chemical called guaiacol. Testing this chemical on fresh pig ribs revealed that the compound had an extremely high anti-bacterial effect without damaging body tissue. Of course, the initial impetus that led the ancient Egyptians to develop such a technique was the fact that they needed to bury their deceased leaders deeper in the earth, due to a dramatic spate of grave robberies. Additionally, one key element to the successful completion of the research team's mission was the unused embalming material found next to the well-preserved mummy of Saankh-kare, which allowed them to carry out chemical analysis of tar which was unaffected by contact with body tissues.

The first link will take visitors to a news piece on this recent important discovery provided by the Canadian Broadcasting Company which details the steps the scientists took in their work. The second link leads to the complete research brief on the discovery that appeared in this week's edition of Nature. The third link offers a detailed description of the embalming process used by the Egyptians, along with offering a list of further reading materials. The fourth link provides a host of materials on the practice of creating animal mummies that was also commonplace in ancient Egypt. The fifth link leads to an interactive edition of the February 1923 edition of the National Geographic Magazine that detailed the discovery and excavation of the tomb of King Tutankhamen by Maynard Owen Williams. Here visitors can read Williams' letters about his work and view photographs from the original article. The sixth and final link leads to a rather comprehensive site devoted to providing information about the world of ancient Egypt. Here visitors can learn about art of the afterlife, sculpture, and the tombs and temples of Egyptian antiquity, among other topics. [KMG]



Duluth News Tribune Masthead.

UMD professor tells the secrets of a mummified dinosaur

The Leonado: The Mummy Dinosaur
project information

It was only one day of work, but Dr. Arthur Aufderheide’s observations gave researchers a valuable theory about a rare dinosaur discovery. Aufderheide, a professor of pathology at the University of Minnesota Duluth, took part in the research of Leonardo, the most complete dinosaur fossil ever discovered. A documentary about it — “Secrets of the Dinosaur Mummy” — debuts at 8 p.m. Sunday on the Discovery Channel.

Dr. Art Aufderheide.

Dr. Arthur Aufderheide sits in his office in the University of Minnesota Duluth research laboratory. On his desk is a drawer of dried specimens, or mummy parts, that he collected from all over the world. Aufderheide uses mummies to study the history of infectious diseases. He went to Malta, Mont., in 2006 to help researchers who had found a mummified dinosaur that they named Leonardo. (Amanda Hansmeyer / News Tribune))

R.I.P. 9 August 2013

Drs. Aufderheide and Salo.

Dr. Wil Salo and Dr. Arthur Aufderheide

UMD professor tells the secrets of a mummified dinosaur

Jana Hollingsworth
Duluth News Tribune - 09/11/2008

It was only one day of work, but Dr. Arthur Aufderheide’s observations gave researchers a valuable theory about a rare dinosaur discovery.

Aufderheide, a professor of pathology at the University of Minnesota Duluth, took part in the research of Leonardo, the most complete dinosaur fossil ever discovered. A documentary about it — “Secrets of the Dinosaur Mummy” — debuts at 8 p.m. Sunday on the Discovery Channel.

Leonardo, a Brachylophosaurus and member of the hadrosaur family, was found in Malta, Mont., in 2001. It was first mummified and then fossilized, so it’s made of stone with some original tissue probably present.

About 77 million years old, it is the only dinosaur found that still has fossilized skin covering a large portion of its body, and other preserved internal parts, including the stomach and its contents: magnolias, ferns and conifers.

Aufderheide is a renowned expert and author of books in the field of paleopathology — the study of ancient diseases — and on the dissection of mummies.

“We contacted Dr. Aufderheide because every time we wanted to get information about the process of mummification, which is not something paleontologists usually have to deal with … mummy specialists anywhere in the U.S. at any university would point to Dr. Aufderheide,” said Joe Iacuzzo, project manager for the Leonardo Project in Las Vegas.

Aufderheide suggested to researchers that the area where Leonardo was found might have been swampy, because chemicals called aldehydes normally found in swamps can prevent decay.

“They may have simply prevented the decay of internal organs long enough for them to become fossilized,” Aufderheide said.

The theory was important because researchers have wondered from the beginning: “Why did nothing eat him? Why did his flesh and internal structures not rot away like virtually every other fossil ever found up until Leonardo?” Iacuzzo said.

Other “dinosaur mummies” discovered appear to have been preserved differently than Leonardo, he said.

Aufderheide works mainly with human bodies and had never seen a dinosaur until 2006, when he traveled to Malta — about 30 miles from the Canadian border — to help.

“I don’t normally deal with that age group: millions of years,” he said. “Nine thousand [years] is a lot for me.”

Aufderheide has built a paleopathology database by examining several hundred mummies from around the world and the bones of many non-mummified remains. His 2003 book, “The Scientific Study of Mummies,” is the standard guidebook to paleopathology. He collaborated on a study of bones of ancient Romans in the early 1990s that confirmed they contained extraordinarily high levels of lead, which historians had put forth years before as a possible cause of the decline of the Roman Empire.

Though Aufderheide is modest about his contribution, his ideas were important to researchers and supported another theory about how the dinosaurs of that period — 12 million years before the end of the dinosaur age — might have died.

Dr. David Eberth of the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Canada has said that a massive extinction occurred when hurricanes, starting in what was then the Gulf of Mexico, traveled through a shallow ocean separating the eastern and western parts of North America, Iacuzzo said.

Because there was no land mass to stop them, they grew stronger and created storm surges, including in what is now Montana, which created massive flooding that would have killed everything, Iacuzzo said.

“Especially larger animals, who would have a hard time treading water … or grabbing on to a small floating object and ride out the storm,” he said. “That’s one theory on why you find so many complete skeletons in that area.”


higher education. She can be reached at (218) 279-5501 or by e-mail at jhollingsworth@

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