Saturday, December 10, 2011

Exhibition: Unwrapping the medical messages of mummies (Thomas Stephens)

Bandaged corpses are so much more than fodder for dodgy Hollywood horror films. An exhibition in Zurich explains what they can tell us about our own health.

“Mummies, men, medicine, magic”, running at Zurich University’s Irchel Campus, is full of surprising – and often macabre – pieces of information about the preserved bodies, some of which are several thousand years old.

“When we have only skeletons we’re so limited – there are so many things we just can’t see,” Christina Warinner, who helped organise the exhibition, told

“Mummies give us more of a body to study. For example if we want to look at intestinal parasites, we need an intestine! If we want to look at pneumonia and influenza, we have to have lungs…”

Before seeing the actual corpses, which come from Egypt, Europe and Peru, visitors are presented with some history and background information, such as what actually counts as a mummy.

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