Conversations with Mummies


Book Details

Author  Rosalie David
Publisher  William Morrow & Company
Publication Date   October 1, 2000
ISBN  0688171435
Pages  192

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As the delicately painted mummy case moves slowly through the CAT scanner, remarkable images appear. Artificial eyes have been placed in the sockets. Between the bandages lie pieces of jewelry, a gold vulture with outstretched wings, and a stone beetle, a symbol of life after death...

Thousands of years ago, their bodies were carefully prepared for the journey to the afterlife. Today, state-of-the-art technology allows researchers to examine more closely than ever before these people who have remained so miraculously preserved through time. Their findings portray the most intimate picture yet available of the everyday lives of ancient Egyptians.

In this lavishly illustrated book, internationally acclaimed paleopathologist Rosalie David and writer Rick Archbold guide us through the fascinating world of Egyptian mummies and the international teams who study them. In an absorbing text, we meet ancient people from every walk of life -- from pharaohs to peasants -- and learn how they lived and why they died. High-tech autopsies -- using X-rays, CAT scans, and endoscopes -- uncover the agonizing afflictions that spared no one, from Pharaoh Ramesses II to a temple musician named Djedmaatesankh. And with electron microscopes and DNA testing, scientists can look deeper still, to reveal the secrets hidden inside three-thousand-year-oId cells -- secrets that may one day help provide cures for modern illnesses.

Conversations with Mummies also conveys a wealth of information about daily life in the time of the pharaohs -- from diets and dentistry to magic and medicine. Features and sidebars on recent mummy studies provide new insights into everything from the family trees of the pharaohs to the hypnotic appeal of the blue lotus flower. A special illustrated feature documents the work of daring modem researchers who are performing the ultimate experiment: re-enacting the age-old ritual of mummification. And amazing images demonstrate how the latest forensic techniques allow artists to reconstruct the faces of mummies, so that these ancient people almost seem able to speak to us from across the centuries.

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