An international team of archaeologists has discovered some of the secrets of the mummification process used in ancient Egypt. This was done thanks to the analysis of organic remains found in the vessels of an old workshop in Saqqara.
According to Ahram Online, the discovery was made by a team of researchers from Ludwig Maximilian University and the University of Tübingen in Germany, in collaboration with the National Research Center in Cairo.
The scientists carried out a detailed analysis of the organic remains found inside the ceramic vessels. In 2018, a mysterious room was discovered among the tombs in the Saqqara necropolis, which archaeologists later identified as an ancient mummification workshop. A large number of boats were found there.
According to Mustafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt, inscriptions were found on the vessels themselves, made in hieratic, a letter of daily use. They contained ancient Egyptian names for organic substances used in the mummification process. Also written on the plates were the names of the parts of the body to which these organic materials were applied at various stages of the embalming process.
In a new stage of the study, the scientists conducted a chemical analysis of the surviving remains. They were able to identify each substance along with the specific part of the body it was intended for. For the first time, data has been obtained on the three main aspects of the mummification process: the material used, its ancient Egyptian name and the part of the body on which it was applied.
The study showed that the Egyptians imported a number of materials from other regions, including from the Mediterranean regions and even from the tropical forests of Southeast Asia. This indicates the existence of extensive trade links during that time period. The key to the mummification process was a certain substance called antiu. Until now it has been assumed that it was incense. However, chemical analysis showed that “antiu” is a mixture of cedar and juniper-cypress oil with various animal fats.
“The study showed that the containers used in the mummification process were labeled with the names of their contents, as well as instructions for their use, which went a long way toward identifying the names of many of the materials used.” Vaziri said. .