Mummy is a body preserved by embalming. It is subjected to a special chemical treatment, due to which the process of decomposition of tissues slows down or stops altogether. Mummification is possible both natural and artificial.
There were always a lot of secrets around mummies, they attracted the interest of both scientists and laymen. The image of the dead, but as if sleeping people, often frightened. People are interested in the process of mummification, as it has always been desirable to touch the unknown to-date boundary between the world of the living and the dead.
But the search and excavation of ancient burials remained always the lot of desperate brave souls. Nevertheless, today a lot of mummies from around the world are in museums.
With their help, one can learn a lot about ancient cults without visiting distant and exotic countries, risking health and life. Legends, however, say that communication with mummies is unsafe, and disturbed dead can take revenge on living people.
Mummification was especially studied in ancient Egypt, where almost everyone could afford to save their body after death. During the era of the pharaohs, this turned into a sacred tradition. In total, about 70 million people were allegedly mummified for the last 3 thousand years.
In the IV century, most of the Egyptians adopted Christianity, according to the new belief, mummification for life after death was not needed. As a result, gradually the ancient tradition was forgotten, and most of the tombs were plundered in ancient times by vandals and thieves seeking treasures.
During the Middle Ages, the destruction of mummies continued – they were even ground into powder, creating “magic” drugs. The ruin of tombs has been continued by modern treasure hunters. Even the relatively recent XIX century helped to destroy the mummies – the bandages of mummies were used as paper, burning the bodies as a fuel.
Today mummification is carried out on a completely scientific basis, an example is the mausoleums with the bodies of the leaders of the socialist countries. We will tell below about the ten most famous mummies in the history of mankind.
is the most famous mummy. Now she is in the Valley of Kings at Luxor. Historians believe that this pharaoh did not stand out among the rulers. Entering the throne in 10 years, already at 19 Tutankhamen died. According to the Egyptologist, the young man died in 1323 BC. his death. But the most interesting events connected with the personality of this pharaoh began three millennia after his death. In 1922, the British Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun, untouched by robbers. After the archaeologists uncovered the wooden and stone coffins embedded in each other, they discovered a golden sarcophagus. Since there was no air in it, even flowers were well preserved inside, not to mention jewels. The face of the pharaoh was covered with a mask of pure gold. However, followed by a series of accidents, which gave rise to talk about the curse of the ancient priests. Just a year later, Carnarvon suddenly died of pneumonia (there were rumors of a mysterious mosquito), Carter’s assistants died one by one, suddenly, Archibald Reed, a scientist who wished to do an x-ray mummy, died. Reasonable arguments society did not interest, and after all, most of the dead scientists were old age. Moreover, Carter himself died last, in 1939. Newspapers just drove up the facts to create a mysterious legend.
Among the famous mummies stands another Egyptian find – the remains of Seti I. It was one of the greatest warrior-pharaohs in history, who also became the father of another legendary ruler, Ramses II the Great. The Board of the Network refers to the era of the 19th dynasty. According to the surviving records, Pharaoh successfully defended Egypt from the army of invaders of neighboring Libya. It was thanks to Network I that Egypt’s power stretched to the borders of modern Syria. Pharaoh ruled 11 years, having done much for the prosperity of his country. His grave was discovered in 1917 by accident.A heavy rain caused a landslide and opened the entrance to the tomb, but inside the researchers they saw that robbers had been here long ago and there were no mummies inside. The very opening of the tomb became a resonant phenomenon, as was the opening of the grave of Tutankhamun. But in 1881, in the cache of Deir el-Bahri, the well-preserved mummy of the Network was nevertheless found. Today it is stored in the Cairo Egyptian Museum.
Seth’s son, Ramses II the Great reigned for 67 years in 1279-1212 BC. At the time of his death, Pharaoh was over 90 years old. Ramesses became one of the most famous rulers of Ancient Egypt. His mummy was discovered by G. Maspero and E. Brugsh in the already mentioned Deir el-Bahri cache in 1881 among other royal bodies. Now she is in the Cairo Museum, giving an excellent opportunity to imagine what a great ruler looked like. Although then the average Egyptian did not exceed 160 cm, Pharaoh’s growth was about 180 cm. Scientists note that the features of the mummy’s face are similar to those of a ruler in his youth. In 1974, the Egyptologists of the museum found that the state of the mummy began to deteriorate. For the medical examination, a valuable exhibit was decided to be sent to Paris, for this Ramses even received an Egyptian passport. In France, the mummy was processed and diagnosed. She showed that Ramses had wounds and fractures from the battles, and also suffered from arthritis. Experts even could identify some types of herbs and flowers that were used for embalming, for example – chamomile oil.
Ramses I. grandfather and the founder of the Ramses dynasty was Ramesses I. Pharaoh before becoming ruler had the following official titles: “Head of all the horses of Egypt”, “Commandant of fortresses”, “Royal scribe”, “His Majesty’s Charioteer” ” and others. Prior to his reign, Ramesses was known in the form of a military leader and dignitary Parames, serving his predecessor, Pharaoh Horemheb. These two Pharaohs were able to restore the economy and political stability in the country, shaken after Akhenaten’s religious reforms. The tomb of Ramses I was accidentally found in Deir el-Bahri Ahmed Abd El-Rasul when he was looking for his lost goat. The man was a well-known representative of the family of tomb robbers. Ahmed began to sell numerous items from the burial place to tourists and collectors. When the tomb was officially discovered in 1881, the mummy of the pharaoh himself was no longer there. In the burial were found 40 other mummies, sarcophagi and numerous exhibits, including the coffin of Ramses himself. According to the research of diaries, letters and reports of the time, it was discovered that a Canadian doctor, James Douglas, acquired a mummy for 7 pounds in 1860. He acquired a relic for the owner of the museum in Niagara. It was there that it was kept for the next 130 years, until it was purchased by a museum named after Michael Carlos in Atlanta for $ 2 million. Of course, it was not without doubt that this is the mummy of Ramses, lost in the XIX century. However, the results of computer tomography, X-ray and radiocarbon analysis showed the similarity of the body with other dynasty representatives, especially since there was also an external similarity. As a result, the mummy of the pharaoh was returned with honors to Egypt in 2003.
Otzi (or Ezi).
In a series of sinister mummies, Otzi (or Ezi) takes a special place. In 1991, two German tourists discovered an ice-frozen body in the Alps. Initially, they took him for the modern, but only in the morgue of Austrian Innsbruck was found out the true age of Otzi. Naturally mummified man was kept in the ice for about 5 thousand years and belongs to the epoch of chalcolith. Fragments of his clothes were perfectly preserved, although many of them were taken for souvenirs. As a result of numerous publications about the mummy, she was given more than 500 nicknames, but in history there was that which was given to her by the Vienna reporter Wendel in honor of the valley of Ötztal.In 1997, the official name of the find was also given – Iceman. Today the find is kept in the Archaeological Museum of South Tyrol in Bolzano. Growth of Otzi at the time of death was 165 cm, and weight – 50 kg. The age of the man was about 45 years, he ate last time with deer meat, and belonged to a small tribe engaged in agriculture. Otzi had 57 tattoos, with him was a brass ax, bow and many objects. Scientists eventually broke the initial version that Otzi simply froze in the mountains. On his body were found numerous wounds, bruises and fractures, traces of other people’s blood. Forensics believe that the Iceman saved his fellow tribesmen and carried them on his shoulders, or was simply buried in the Alps. The name of this mummy is also related to the story of the curse. It is said that the found Ice man caused the death of six people. The first of these was the German tourist Helmut Simon. He received for his find a prize of 100 thousand dollars and on the joys decided to again visit this place. However, there he was overtaken by death in the form of a snowstorm. Only ended the funeral, as a heart attack killed the rescuer, who has now found Simon. The forensic expert who carried out the examination of Otzi’s body also died in a car accident, and this happened at the time of his journey to television to give an interview about the find. A professional mountaineer who also accompanied the explorers to the place of discovery died and a huge stone fell on his head at the collapse. A couple of years have passed and an Austrian journalist who was present during the transportation of the mummy and who shot a documentary about her died from a brain tumor. The last of the victims of the mummy today is the Austrian archaeologist who studied the body. But in the study of the mummy, hundreds of people were involved, so that such a chain could become just an accident.
Princess of Ukoka.
In 1993, a sensational find was made in Altai. During the excavation of the ancient mound in the ice, a well-preserved body of a woman was discovered, which was called Princess Ukoka. She died at the age of 25, and lived in the V-III centuries BC. In the cell found, in addition to the mummy, they also found the remains of six horses with saddles and harness, which indicated the high status of the buried woman. She was also dressed qualitatively, and there were numerous tattoos on her body. Although the scientists were delighted with the find, the locals immediately began to say that the disturbed grave and spirit of the princess would bring unhappiness. Some Altaians claim that the mummy, now stored in the Novosibirsk Institute of Archeology and Ethnography, should be buryed or returned to its native lands. As a consequence of the disturbance of the spirit’s rest, earthquakes and seismic activity, which have become more frequent in the Altai, and the increased number of causeless suicides have become frequent. There is an opinion that all these events are revenge of the princess. They even speak about broken devices and about crashed helicopters, where they planned to take the mummy, but information about this was not confirmed. Although popular rumor and erected a mummy to the rank of princess – the progenitor of all the Altai peoples, scientists debunked this myth. The woman belonged to the rich, but middle class. In addition, DNA studies have shown that it was a European race, which caused protest and mistrust on the part of local peoples belonging to the Mongoloids.
In 1971, in the Chinese city of Changsha, a mummy of a wealthy Chinese woman of the Han Dynasty named Xin Zhu was discovered. She died in 168 BC. at the age of 50 years. The wife of a high-ranking official, a representative of the ancient Thai people, was buried in an unusual way. There were only four sarcophagi, and they were nested one in the other, delaying the decomposition procedures. The body itself floated in 80 liters of yellowish liquid, the recipe of which remained unclear, as it immediately evaporated.The autopsy gave amazing results – the body weighed only 35 kg, while the joints retained mobility, and the muscles were all also elastic. Even the skin has retained its hue. Near the deceased, many different items were found, including recipes for her favorite dishes. Also in the sarcophagus were found dozens of books on medicine, where in the smallest detail was told about operations to increase the brain and shunt the heart. Also, the researchers found another unusual find there. On a piece of silk, the size of a square meter, a map of three Chinese provinces was drawn on a scale of 1: 180,000. However, the accuracy of the drawing was amazing! It absolutely corresponded to satellite data. The mystery of the mummy was also given by the fact of the death of one of the scientists participating in the studies from an incomprehensible disease. Now the mummy is located in the historical museum of Changsha.
In the deserted areas of the Tarim Basin at the beginning of the 20th century Tarim mummies were discovered. It is noteworthy that these people were Caucasians, confirming the theory of the widespread distribution of people of this race in internal Asia. The most ancient mummies belong to the XVII century BC. These people had long blond or red hair that was braided in braids. Not bad preserved and their fabric – raincoats made of felt and leggings with a checkered pattern. One of the most famous Tarim mummies is the Loulana beauty. This young woman was about 180 cm tall, and had fair-haired hair. It was found in 1980 in the vicinity of Loulan. The age of the find exceeds 3800 years. Today, the remains of a woman are kept in the museum of the city of Urumqi. It is noteworthy that next to her was found the burial of a 50-year-old man with hair braided in two braids and a 3-month-old baby with a bottle and a cow’s horn and a nipple from the udder’s sheep. Objects of ancient utensils were also found there – a hood, a sieve, a bag. Craniometric data of the studies indicate that the Tarim mummies have an anthropological similarity with the Indo-Europeans.
Dashi Dorzho Itigelov.
In 2002, an important event took place – an autopsy of a sarcophagus with the body of a well-known Buryat figure of the early twentieth century – Dasha Dorzho Itigelov. The Buddhist ascetic became famous during his lifetime. He was born in 1852, having become famous both as a monk and as a connoisseur of Tibetan medicine. Information about his relatives was not preserved, which gives Buddhists the opportunity to cherish the legend of the extraterrestrial origin of the priest. From 1911 until the Revolution he was the head of Russian Buddhists. In 1927, the lama assembled the disciples and ordered them to visit his body 30 years later, and then, after reading the prayers, he went to nirvana. The body of the deceased was placed in a cedar box and, according to his will, was opened in 1955 and 1973 in order to be convinced of imperishability. No post-mortem changes and signs of decay on the deceased have been found. After 2002, the deceased, without creating any special conditions, was placed in a glass in the monastery for public viewing. Although any biomedical studies of the body were banned after 2005, the analysis of hair and nails showed. That their protein structure corresponds to the condition of a living person, but the bromine content exceeds the norm by 40 times. There were no scientific explanations for the phenomenon, and the pilgrims did not have time to find thousands of them, they were drawn to the incorruptible body in Buryatia, the Ivolginsky datsan.
Lenin’s name is familiar to everyone in our country. This is a Russian and Soviet political and state figure, the creator of the Bolshevik Party, one of the organizers and leaders of the October Revolution of 1917. Vladimir Ilyich was chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars first of Russia, and then of the USSR. In 1924 the leader died, and his body was decided to be preserved. For this, Professor Abrikosov was called, who embalmed the deceased with a special compound. Already by the day of the funeral a wooden mausoleum was built. Initially, the embalming was designed for a short time to have a funeral.Abrikosov himself considered the struggle to preserve the body meaningless, since science simply does not know how to do this, especially on the body appeared corpse stains and pigmentation. Disputes about the methods of mummification were conducted long enough – about 2 months! The low-temperature method with the installation of the refrigerating chamber was rejected, on March 26, work began on the body on a quickly developed unique method, similar to the Egyptian mummification. By that time, the body had already acquired dramatic changes. Dark spots were removed with the help of acetic acid, soft tissues were impregnated with a solution of formaldehyde and embalming agents. On August 1, 1924, the Mausoleum was opened for a visit, nearly 120 million people passed by the sarcophagus. Mummies are periodically subjected to biochemical treatment, while experts believe that with proper care, the remains can remain indefinitely. At present, disputes are being held about the very mummification of the leader. His role in history has already been revised, and the fact that the body was preserved was not personal (with the permission and requests of relatives), but a political one. Increasingly, calls are being made for the burial of Lenin in the land.