Forget bodies, ancient Egyptians even mummified food

Written by PTI | London | Updated: Nov 21 2013, 02:57am hrs
Ancient EgyptiansAncient Egyptians stocked tombs with?clothing, furniture and even mummified food to ensure?continued comfort and happiness after death.?Reuters
Ancient Egyptians stocked tombs withclothing, furniture and even mummified food to ensurecontinued comfort and happiness after death.

Several tombs contain pieces of mummified meat, wrappedin bandages and covered in balm. High status Egyptians hadthemselves interred with furniture, jewelry and even mummifiedpets.

Richard Evershed of the University of Bristol andcolleagues chemically analysed the balms on some of thesemummified meats.

Researchers believe the Egyptians used the balms forpreservation and flavour enhancement, '' reported.

The most luxurious coating was on bandages coveringmummified beef ribs, dated between 1386 and 1349 BC, found inthe tomb of Yuya and Tjuiu, the parents of Queen Tiye, thewife of Pharaoh Amenhotep III.

Scientists have found hundreds of meat mummies in ancientEgyptian tombs. Most of them are joints of meat or poultry,prepared as if for eating, then wrapped.

Dark residue that covers the bandages appears organicbalms applied to human and animal mummies.

Scientists used gas chromatography-mass spectrometry toanalyse four pieces of mummified meat stored at differentmuseums.

Researchers found that the composition of the balmsvaried over time and believe the ancient Egyptiansdeliberately added them.

External bandages from a victual calf mummy, dated from1064 to 948 BC, in the tomb of Isetemkheb, the wife of a highpriest, contained compounds made from animal fat.

Since these compounds had no contact with the meat, theresearchers think they were not grease from the meat, but abalm applied deliberately as a preservative.

The study appears in the journal Proceedings of theNational Academy of Sciences.