Monday, December 12, 2005

Four distinct groups of mummies
Zahi Hawass, on the Egyptian Gazette website: "Over our five excavation seasons, we have discovered more than 253 mummies which can be categorised into four distinct groups. The first are mummies cased with cartonnage and gold. These are the wealthy individuals, possibly the local merchants. Many of these mummies have golden masks and breastplates.

The second type are mummies wrapped in linen, the upper body is encased in cartonnage that covers the chest area and it is painted with funerary deities. These mummies are also identified by their lifelike eyes. The eyes are beautifully carved and inlaid with white marble around black obsidian pupils. Over time some of these inlaid eyes have shifted in the mask and they appear to be following you as you work. It is very unsettling!

The third type are mummies wrapped only in linen, woven into geometric patterns. There is no presence of paint or gilding. These are the middle class people.

The fourth and final type are mummies of the poorest individuals. They have been carelessly wrapped and in some cases the linen has unraveled. They are most often found in the surface tombs. Sometimes we have found just a skeleton covered with a single piece of cloth and only the two hands and the penis are wrapped separately.

Each of these mummies has its own story to tell us. Join me next week as I will tell you the story of two female mummies found in Tomb 54 that were loved for eternity".

This is the entire piece on the Egyptian Gazette website.

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