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Dr. Reisner has recently told me that Canopic Jars have been obtained from tombs of the 5th and 6th dynastic periods, but they are always clean and empty. Although these vessels thus show no signs of ever having contained viscera the fact that Canopic Jars are never known to have been used for any other purpose renders it probable that these early jars were intended to receive the organs removed from the body. If the organs were taken out of the body the most likely reason for such a procedure would be the attempt to prevent corruption. Thus the slight balance of evidence-indefinite and wholly inconclusive though it be is in favour of some attempt at mummification or artificial preservation of the body as early as the 5th dynasty.
The examination of mummies of the New Empire reveals the fact that during the processes of mummification as practised at that time the soft tissues of the body (excepting the skin which was exposed to the action of the preservative agent) became converted into a loose spongy material which was much too soft and too small in amount to keep the skin distended: as the result the limbs became reduced to little else than bones with an ill-fitting wrapping of deeply wrinkled skin. This happened not only in emaciated persons but to an even greater extent in individuals whose bodies were plump and muscular (Pl. VIII, figure 1).
In the 21st dynasty the embalmers endeavoured to remedy this defect by stuffing various materials-pieces of linen, sawdust, sand, earth and other substances-under the skin so as to distend it and mould the form of the body. The great prevalence of plundering and the frequent rewrappings of mummies of the preceding dynasties that are known to have taken place in the reign of the priest-kings may have brought home to the embalmers in a manner not so fully appreciated before the imperfection of the results (so far as the retention of the form of the body is concerned) obtained by their fellow craftsmen of the 18th, 19th
and 20th dynasties. On the other hand it may have been merely the result of a gradual evolution of technique: the appreciation of the improved appearance of the face in mummies (of the 19th and 20th dynasties) whose cheeks had been stuffed with linen may have naturally suggested the attempt to deal in an analogous manner with the rest of the body.
Or again it may have been an innovation deliberately introduced to combine in one object the corruptible body and the Ka-statue which both separately represented the deceased in earlier tombs.
In a memoir presented to the Institut ten years ago Dr. Fouquet for the first time called attention to the stuffing of mummies in the following words:"Le cou, les bras, les jambes sont bourrés de la même composition (limon, tantôt sans mélange, tantôt mêlée à des débris de linge et à des poudres aromatiques) que le ventre, mais on n'y trouve jamais de débris végétaux1". Dr. Fouquet's investigations were made on the same material which I have made the subject of the present communication; but since his work was accomplished the mummies have been transferred by M. Maspero, Director General of the Service des Antiquités to the Anatomical Museum of the Cairo School of Medicine; and, as the result, I have had much greater freedom in examining the specimens than Dr. Fouquet could have enjoyed. Apart from the mere fact that the limbs were packed with foreign material there is little in the report of M. Fouquet (or the two expertschemical and medico-legal- who advised him) with which I can
I can find no evidence whatever to justify the statements that the muscles of the limbs and back were ever extracted as M.Fouquet describes (op. cit., pp. 93 and 94); nor is there any "ablation des yeux" (p. 94). Nor is it correct to say that the packing of the
1 DR. FOUQUET, "Note pour servir à l'histoire de l'embaumement en Egypte," Bulletin
de l'Institut Egyptien, Troisième Sèrie-No 7 Année 1896, 1897, p. 93.
back is most often wanting (p. 94) seeing that I have found it in 40 cases out of 42 mummies examined. The statement on p.94: "tout ce qui ne devait pas être apparent était systématiquement négligé par les embaumeurs" is altogether misleading, for the process of packing was in most cases most carefully performed in every region of the body, irrespective of its situation. M. Fouquet's further remarks concerning his inability to detect the openings for introducing the packing accords as ill with his statement :"J'en ai toujours trouvé une à chaque bras et à chaque avantbras, une pour chaque cuisse et pour chaque jambe" (p. 93), as both expressions of opinion fail to receive confirmation from the photographs illustrating the present contribution.
The statements attributed to Professor Lacassagne are even more misleading. "Quelques-uns de ces tissus et les linges qui les touchaient, ont pu fournir, au professeur Lacassagne à qui je les ai envoyés à Lyon, la réaction de l'hémoglobine caractéristique des tâches de sang" (op. cit., p. 93). No one has a wider knowledge of all the most modern tests, chemical and biological, for blood stains nor a better acquaintance with these methods in medicolegal practice than my colleague, Professor W. A. Schmidt, of the Cairo School of Medicine. Dr. Schmidt has examined large numbers of pieces of stained cloth and pieces of highly vascular tissues from a large series of mummies: he tells me that he has been utterly unable to recognise the presence of haemoglobin, although the tests in use now are immeasurably more delicate and sure than those in use ten years ago. All the reddish stains on linen were found to be due to resin.
"Un fragment de peau d'une autre momie a permis à l'éminent médecin légiste d'affirmer que la mort du sujet avait été causée par l'immersion et que le cadavre avait dû séjourner plus de quinze jours dans l'eau" (op. cit., p. 93).
How did M. Lacassagne recognise from a piece of skin the
cause of death in the case of a body which we know to have been put into a salt bath for embalming purposes soon after death and left there for several weeks?
I do not think that we can be content to accept M. Fouquet's account as in any way final.
Three years ago M. Maspero unrolled four mummies of the 21st dynastic period in the Cairo Museum; and entrusted the tasks of writing the archaeological and anatomical reports respectively to M. Daressy and myself'.
In ignorance of M. Fouquet's work I described the packing of the legs and the breasts of two women with pebbly sand and linen respectively without being able to find any previous record of such a procedure.
In July, 1905, with the help of Mr. A. C. Mace (of the Hearst Egyptological Expedition of the University of California) I undertook the detailed study of the mode of wrapping and the treatment of the body in the case of the mummy of a Priestess of Ammon, named Ta-usert-em-suten-pa, which M. Maspero kindly placed at our disposal. In the course of this examination we discovered that the stuffing of the various parts of the body was much more extensive and the process of packing much more elaborate than either M. Fouquet or I had supposed. I therefore undertook a fuller investigation of forty four mummies of the 21st dynasty which M. Maspero had presented to me for the School of Medicine three years ago. It is the results of this examination that I propose to set forth in this memoir.
Practically all of the material came from the great find of Priests and Priestesses of Ammon made by M. Grébaut at Dêr el Bahari in 1891.
1 M. GEORGES DARESSY, Ouverture des Momies provenant de la seconde trouvaille de Deir-el-Bahari.
G. ELLIOT SMITH, Report on the Four Mummies, Annales du Service des Antiquités de l'Egypte, 1903, p. 15.
In certain parts of this investigation I have received invaluable help from Dr. W. A. Schmidt, Professor of Chemistry in the School of Medicine and Mr. A. Lucas, the Director of the Chemical Laboratory of the Survey Department. Dr. Douglas E. Derry, my Colleague in the Anatomical Department at the Cairo School of Medicine, has constantly assisted me in the anatomical work.
The Treatment of the Brain and the Cranial Cavity.
Herodotus has given us an account of the different modes of embalming practised in Egypt, presumably in the fifth century before the Christian era. The Greek original and Laurent's translation into English have been given in full by Pettigrew,' from whose work I have derived all the references to the Greek classics in the following account. Herodotus states that "in the first place with a crooked piece of iron they pull out the brain by the nostrils; a part of it they extract in this manner, the rest by means of pouring in certain drugs" (op. cit., p. 46). Pettigrew says that Greenhill, in his "Art of embalming," p. 249, speaks of the extraction of the brain through the nostrils as an amusing story of a thing "impracticable and amusing" (op. cit., p. 52, 5th footnote). Pettigrew himself was "at first tempted to conceive that it was not possible to empty the skull of its contents by these means," but the examination of several specimens convinced him that it had certainly been accomplished. "It would appear that the crotchets (two of which, made of bronze, Pettigrew represents in his Plate IV) had been introduced up the nostrils, made to perforate the ethmoid bone at the upper part of the nostrils and then by a circular rotatory movement to break down the cribriform plate of that bone, × X × [through the opening thus made] the
1 THOMAS JOSEPH PETTIGREW, A History of Egyptian Mummies, London, 1834, pp. 44, 45 and 46.