Conversations with Mummies: New Light on the Lives of Ancient Egyptians

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9780002201810: Conversations with Mummies: New Light on the Lives of Ancient Egyptians

A book that, using cutting-edge techniques and medical technology, sheds new light on how ancient Egyptians lived and died.

Recent studies using state-of-the-art technology have shed exciting new light on the lives of the ancient Egyptians. In this lavishly illustrated book, we are introduced to some of the most fascinating examples of the people who have been so miraculously preserved through centuries. Thanks to modern medical technology – X-rays, CT-scans and DNA tests – we can actually peer beneath the linen wrappings to reconstruct the lives of the individuals inside.

In a highly readable and absorbing text, we meet ancient people from every walk of life – from the royal mummies of the New Kingdom to ordinary artisans and labourers. For the first time, we can confirm how these Egyptians lived and how they died. Scientific study reveals the agonizing afflictions that spared no one, from middle class Djedmaatesankh to Ramesses II. Tissue sampling technology, which has uncovered the remains of ancient parasites whose descendents still infect millions today, has also made it possible for scientists to type King Tutankhamun’s blood and draw new conclusions about his relationship to the heretic pharaoh, Akhenaten. And modern forensic techniques make it possible to reconstruct the faces of the mummies, so that they almost seem to speak to us in an afterlife they never could have imagined.

Included will be a special feature on the mysterious art of mummification, plus a wealth of information on daily life in the time of the pharaohs, the journey to the afterlife, magic and medicine in ancient Egypt, and more – all illustrated with a host of photographs and diagrams.

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Review:

The grisly but imperious mummified head of Ramesses the Great stares from the page, communicating with another time. Science is telling us more and more about ancient Egyptians and also about our own bodies (particularly our diseases) by comparison. Studying ancient remains "is a two-way conversation". With its gold cover, Conversations with Mummies looks like a present and its glossy style shouts popular appeal. Written by a non-specialist, Rick Archibald, with Rosalie David, Keeper of Egyptology at the Manchester Museum, this approachable book takes as its underlying theme the story of the work of the Manchester Mummy Project, a "world leader" in the medical analysis of mummies. In addition, it introduces the history of Egyptology and provides background information on ancient Egypt. Descriptions of mummy autopsies and a modern mummification reconstruction grab the imagination, as do several daily life stories of individual Egyptians gleaned from their mummies. Particularly attractive and absorbing, this book can also be thought provoking. When discussing the contrast between how the ancient Egyptians saw themselves and the evident modern view of a disease-ridden population rife with "chronic pain", it is particularly intriguing. Rosalie David feels an almost personal relationship with the mummies she studies and the book emphasises how mummies are now valued as records of individual lives. As Archibald writes, "Egyptian paleopathology, mummy science, is about life: life in ancient times and life today". -- Karen Tiley

About the Author:

Dr Rosalie David is a pioneer in the field of paleopathology and has been head of the Manchester Egyptian Mummy Project since it was founded in 1973.

Rick Archbold is the writer or co-writer of 18 books, including several to have come from his long collaboration with Dr Robert Ballard, the ocean explorer who discovered the wreck of the Titanic.

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ROSALIE DAVID, RICK ARCHBOLD, RICK ARCHIBALD'
Published by HARPERCOLLINS ILLUSTRATED (2000)
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ROSALIE DAVID, RICK ARCHBOLD, RICK ARCHIBALD'
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