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BOOK REVIEW

Built to Last: Excerpts from The Mummy in Ancient Egypt, Anthropology Explored and Mummies, Disease & Ancient Cultures, 2nd ed.

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The Middle Kingdom mummy of Wah was found at Thebes by Winrock. It was unwrapped in New York, revealing the body of a middle-aged man with his hands crossed over his chest. Some 375 square meters of linen were used in wrapping the body.

The Mummy in Ancient Egypt
Salima Ikram and Aidan Dodson
Thames and Hudson,$45

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I will never forget a naturally mummified dog I helped excavate at an archaeological site on the north coast (Peru) several years ago. Some time around A.D. 1300, the dog's owner had carefully wrapped the pet in a cloth shroud and buried it outside the wall of a desert city. Seven hundred years later when we unwrapped the shroud, the dog was perfectly preserved, with ears standing straight up and lips drawn back in a permanent snarl.

John W. Verano
in Anthropology Explored: The Best of Smithsonian AnthroNotes
Ruth Osterweis Selig and Marilyn R. London, eds.
Smithsonian, $35

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The preparation of the tsantsa (shrunken head) is a laborious process. First, the head has to be cut as near to the trunk as possible, preserving all the skin of the neck. If the victim was slain near the village of the head hunters, the preparation begins immediately, and this, according to some experts, gives the best results.

Mummies, Disease & Ancient Cultures, 2nd ed.
Aidan Cockburn, Eve Cockburn and Theodore A. Reyman, eds.
Cambridge, $29.95 (paper)

 

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