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➜ [Epub] ❧ The Mummy Congress: Science, Obsession, and the Everlasting Dead By Heather Pringle ➦ –

The Mummy Congress Takes Us On A Journey Over Five Continents And Back Nearly , Years Pringle Tells How Mummies Have Been Venerated As Saints, Fought Over By Politicians, Collected As Artistic Treasures And Investigated For Clues To Ancient Civilization S Drug Use In These Pages Lie Child Mummies Of Northern Chile, Preserved Household Pets Of Ancient Egypt And The New Crop Of Mummification Services Being Hyped On The Internet A Powerful And Stimulating Look At Mummies, The Mummy Congress Also Turns Our Vision Inwards Towards Our Fears Of Mortality And Our Dreams Of Eternal Life

10 thoughts on “The Mummy Congress: Science, Obsession, and the Everlasting Dead

  1. says:

    Creepy yet very informative The kind of information that you can get only from actually reading a book You see, there is not too many mummy experts in this world.Mummy experts are those who work on this solitary and thankless job studying the mummies around the world They dissect the long dead and determine how long they have been dead, what was done to their body that they were able to defy the natural process of decomposition, the cause of their deaths, etc In doing these, they hope to unlock the secret of body preservation and hopefully to also discover some knowledge of how they, our forefathers, lived their lives.They love mummies as Heather Pringle, Canadian non fiction writer, journalist and archeologist, wrote Mummies have always spoken to us on some deep primal level, and we are simply unable to leave them alone We love them and we fear them, we aspire to be them and we dread that fate But one thing is certain we are powerless to resist their potent appeal pp 338 39.The story started with the mummy congress in Arica, Chile where the earliest known mummies, the Chinchorro, 5000 to 3000 B.C was examined and ended with Pringle, looking forward to the next congress in Netherland In between, were her trips to the mausoleum in Italy where the medieval saints are entombed Then to the mummies in Netherlands were the long dead seemed to have the marks of brutal deaths Then to Peru where they studied the mummy of an Inca princess that was preserved in ice The book also mentioned the different ancient ways in preserving the body some even used some parasites to prevent the composition, some used quick freezing cryogenics , some used complete dehydration and some used unknown herbs and chemicals like the Egyptian mummies I used to think that this kind of practice was only done in Africa or Middle East This book taught me that there were also mummies in North America, Alaska, Europe and Japan I was waiting for Pringle to mention the Philippine mummies lying in the hanging coffins in Sagada, Mountain Province but she did not In fact, the only mummy that I ve seen with my own two eyes was the centuries old mummy that is on display in the Provincial Capitol of Benguet in La Trinidad when I was in college The mummy is in a glass case and sitting all by herself under the map of Benguet at the lobby of the provincial hall.There is also a chapter on the preservation of Lenin s body during the Russian Revolution This reminded me of the preserved body of Mao Tse Tung that I saw during my visit to Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 2001 Here in the Philippines, the body of the former President Ferdinand Marcos is still to be buried 22 years after his death in Hawaii in 1989 For those who love zombies, I suggest that they try this book The mummies look like zombies The only difference is that they don t move and chase you Rather, you will learn a lot about the long dead instead of the fictional un dead You will get scared too but not silly scared Rather the smart scared.

  2. says:

    Science journalist Heather Pringle provides a lively and entertaining report on the status of mummies in the new millennium Filled with history, clever character sketches, curiosities and fascinations the pages turn at a swift clip to address not only the Egyptian standard, but mummies from around the globe.Were you aware of the discovery of an entire community of well preserved Caucasian corpses circa twenty first century B.C in the northwestern corner of China Good, because the Chinese government would prefer you not be What s going on with Lenin s remains in light of the collapse of the Soviet Union What about those bodies rising from the depths of Britain s bogs The Roman Catholic Incorruptibles Is there still a black market mummy trade Cryogenics, anyone We are weird, weird people and mummies serve to celebrate this So climb aboard the crazy train for roughly three hundred pages Might as well have fun with it.

  3. says:

    I bought this book because I have a passing interest in ancient civilizations and Egyptology The title in particular is what grabbed my attention I believe this book was written for someone with similar inclinations, NOT for the hardcore intellectual or enthusiast who professes to know all the in and outs on the subject Keep in mind the author herself is a journalist whose interest in the subject was sparked after covering the Mummy Congress she is not a history professor or archeologist I found it to be a fascinating read It touched on the interesting moral, ethical and technical aspects of uncovering the past I found the different points of view regarding how to obtain information on the mummies fascinating from the old school dig em up they are not really people any to the respectful MRI approach She balanced this with interesting historical information and facts about mummies.

  4. says:

    Once upon a time, I trained to be a bioarchaeologist in college, with a specialty in mortuary archaeology As such, this book is certainly right up my alley it s effectively a How It Works for these particular fields.This book is a fascinating, in depth look at the world of bioarchaeology and how it pertains to the study of ancient human remains The focus is, as the title implies, mummies.If you find mummies, death rituals and funerary rites, or relatable popular science tales interesting, I highly recommended this book It s an easy read with a lot of fascinating sidepaths, and even some gorgeous, full color photos of mummies to round it out Hardcover edition.

  5. says:

    I had no idea there would be so much to learn about mummies The author is a freelance science writer who learns of a little known conference, the World Conference on Mummy Studies, being held in a remote region of Chile, and promises her editor she d bring back a story about a mummy coming to life if he sends her That story didn t happen, but what she does find is a passionate group of specialists devoted the preserved dead She spends the next year visiting these scientists around the world to learn about their work.Her somewhat chatty writing style makes mummy science understandable to the layperson We learn about the sometimes questionable relics of medieval saints preserved in European cathedrals, a frozen Inca princess on display in Argentina, Japanese monks who strive to mummify themselves, the Russian s frantic attempts to keep the bodies of Lenin and Stalin viewable, what the bog bodies reveal about life and society in Northern Europe in ancient times, how Egyptian embalmers were so skilled that there are Egyptian mummies than any museum can handle, and Perhaps the most gob smacking was the Victorian pastime of attending mummy unwrappings during the height of Egyptomania The book is really about our varying degrees of comfort with death through over time and in different cultures Some mummies, like the Inca princess and Otzi the iceman, are accidental due to climate Others, such as King Tutankhamen and Lenin, are deliberate All of them can reveal clues about our past The World Conference on Mummy Studies has a Facebook page Check it out

  6. says:

    Mummies are always fascinating to me, at least in non fiction, and this book was especially so because it covers a lot of ground, from Inca child sacrifices to Stalin to ancient bog bodies It s the kind of book I love, with something new but related in each chapter, introducing new sites and concepts I wasn t aware of without going into any one thing exhaustively I found myself googling for images to match the text.The only thing I would really criticise is the hyperbolic breathlessness about how some of these mummies look as if they were alive or wouldn t look out of place on the street No, the preservation is amazing, but I have yet to see a mummy that is truly so immaculately preserved that it wouldn t stick out like a sore thumb trying to walk around the streets The faces are sunken, the jaws and teeth and cheekbones too prominent, etc, etc They re obviously dead I find I have respect for them while recognising that they re dead than trying to pretend that they look just as they did when alive They don t.There s an amazing amount to be learned from some of these bodies, and Pringle does a great job of showing some of the breadth of what s out there and what questions we need to ask.Reviewed for The Bibliophibian.

  7. says:

    Pringle attends a conference on mummies The Mummy Congress and pursues the topics presented in papers at the conference Her research takes her to the tombs of Egypt to the bogs of the Netherlands to the peaks of the Andes An enjoyable approachable read I m interested in pursuing what further research has been done since 2001 publ date on several of the famous mummies mentioned in the book.

  8. says:

    4.5 StarsAn enlightening read on almost anything you could want to know about mummies throughout history

  9. says:

    I really appreciate my colleague Tony thinking to loan me this book I love detailed accounts of obsessive subcultures and the insular, scientific world of mummy specialists qualifies This was a thought provoking work One of the controversies in the field is whether to do destructive autopsies on mummies I had hoped for a middle ground at most use the accurate, tiny tools of laparoscopic surgery and digital laparoscopes However, a close look at the work of an avid dissector convinced me tools for mushy bodies don t work in dessicated corpses hardened to resin Not fully exploiting some corpses misses unique discoveries like the example of an entire workman s shirt hidden in the wrappings Other myth s exploded Twain probably made up mummies as locomotive fuel I had thought as much and there never was paper made from mummy linens This despite its inclusion in multiple histories of paper making.I never watched the TV documentary on cocaine mummies , but the discovery of THC and cocaine traces in the hair of Peruvian and Egyptian mummies made me want to believe partying elite were sending brickes of coke and bales of marijuana to each other across the southern Atlantic But, apparently such trips were not possible at the time and such assaying only tells us how littel we know about the chemical processes involved.The title refers to a regular meeting of mummy experts and the author, a report for a magazine, attended and following the threads from one year to track down those active in the fields of bogs, Valley of the Kings, Incan repositories and A chapter near the end on the ruthless, police state tactics South American missionaires took to destroy Incan mummy culture, a culturally important form of ancestor worship, was among the most repulsive material of a work that goes for the visceral.Finally, the chapter on Lenin s embalming and that of the other Communist world corpses it inspired it self inspired me to read on these Mausoleummists.

  10. says:

    There is something missing from the heart of this book, something vital that would push it over the edge and into something great There is certainly nothing wrong with the writing, which is friendly and accurate The descriptions and characterizations are detailed and engaging Neither is it the topic, because Pringle found plenty of interesting and surprising anecdotes to fill the pages Instead, I feel it was the episodic approach the book takes to the topic, moving from one variety of mummy to another and into a cultural assessment By limiting our exposure to any one researcher and their particular specialization we are trapped in a book that essentially restarts every chapter and changes direction The hook that all these episodes are supposed to hang on is the eponymous Mummy Congress in Arica, Chile, but after the first chapter the importance of the congress simply vanishes into occasional mentions This was disappointing because the congress was what piqued my interest in the book, and I was hoping for a report from the congress, rather than it being the weak link holding the book together.Then there is the matter of the age of the book I hate to admit it to myself, but 2000 was a long time ago, especially for a book reporting the cutting edge of research in a field where one discovery can change everything Yet I really liked the episodes and meeting the people profiled throughout the book.