Ancient Lives: New Discoveries: Eight mummies, Eight stories
John H. Taylor and Daniel Antoine
In recent years, British Museum curators have collaborated with scientists and medical experts to explore non-invasive imaging techniques and other scientific approaches to further study Egyptian mummies. Piecing together key biographical data and information, it has been possible for the first time to discover more about who these people were in ancient Egyptian society. Mummies draws on cutting-edge research to reveal the actual experience of living and dying in the ancient Nile Valley. Eight significant mummies are explored, each carefully selected to tell a different story, covering a period of over 4000 years. They include a young female temple singer, an unknown man of high status, and a child from the Roman era. Funerary objects are also highlighted for context: for example, non-invasive imaging of the contents of canopic jars; analyses of embalming substances, and identification of wood species and pigment types used in coffins. The majority of the material is drawn from the British Museum’s extensive Egypt and Sudan collections, but the book includes a number of mummies from other museums to physically reunite individuals originally buried together in family or communal tombs. This allows fascinating comparisons to be made. With over 200 specially commissioned photographs, Mummies sets out to shine a new light on the past.