An ancient Egyptian mummy is sparking new questions among archaeologists, because it has one very rare feature: The blood vessels surrounding the mummy’s brain left imprints on the inside of the skull in the preservative substances used in the mummification process.
The researchers are trying to find what process could have led to the preservation of these…
Just a note that the meningeal vessels leave impressions in the calvaria naturally. What’s notable in this case is that there seems to be greater anatomical detail left by the vessels within the meninges because of the preservatives used in the mummification process. I didn’t think that this LiveScience article made this clear right off the bat. Super interesting though.
The cremation process takes place inside a cremation chamber constructed to withstand intense heat and flame, reaching temperatures as high as 1800°F (1000°C). The structure that houses the cremation chamber is called the crematory or crematorium. Pacemakers and other implanted mechanical or prosthetic devices can explode during cremation, and must be removed. The cremation process begins with the placement of the casket or container in the cremation chamber where it is subjected to intense heat and flames reducing the human remains to bone fragments, referred to as ‘cremated remains’. Once separated from any non-combustible materials, the bone fragments may be further reduced by mechanical means to uniform particles for placement in an urn or sturdy container. Depending on the size of the deceased, the cremated remains for an adult will weigh between 4-8 lbs. Very little, if any remains follow the cremation of a fetus or very young child. The cremated remains are usually white in color, but can be other colors due to temperature variations and other factors.
My homegirl, Caitlin Doughty, is always down when I wanna talk about the public crypts of Italy, incorrupt saints or yak about transi tombs.
But in real life she’s a licensed, practicing mortician. She doesn’t just ruminate on death in art and history; she has a more immediate agenda. She envisions a wold where death isn’t taboo. Where it’s not considered morbid or weird to think about something that will happen to every single one of us. Her vision is a new-old way of death, where caring for our loved ones’ bodies also means caring for the grieving and caring for the planet we share.
I can’t recommend her book, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: and Other Lessons from the Crematory, enough. It’s funny, fascinating, and will make you reconsider the way we deal with death- culturally and personally.
Pretty much every night before I have to go to work.
Forensic Anthropology and Forensic Science in the News
USF Anthropology Team Identifies 2 More Sets of Human Remains From Infamous Reform School [Update] Strange Remains
The anthropology team from the University of South Florida (USF) has positively identified two more sets of remains exhumed from graves on the property once belonging to the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys: 13-year-old Thomas Varnadoe and 12-year-old Earl Wilson. Read more at Strange Remains.
The grisly history of forensics – by crime writer Val McDermid The Guardian
In the public mind, forensic science means cutting-edge technology: well-equipped professionals performing complex experiments in glossy laboratories, as in CSI or Silent Witness. In fact, the real story of forensics is full of courtroom disasters, eccentric pioneers, crowd-pleasing showmen and dangerous (sometimes fatal) research. Read more at The Guardian.
Forensic experts want to examine headless skeletons found in Huntingdon garden Hunts Post 24
Forensic biologists want to examine other areas of a Huntingdon garden where two headless skeletons were found. Read more at Hunts Post 24.
Investigators: Vail remains may have belonged to rancher Vail Daily
An investigation into human skeletal remains found in Vail and Edwards in June have led the Eagle County Coroner’s Office to determine the bones are most likely from ranch burial in the late 1800s or early 1900s. The skeleton was discovered on June 26 during the excavation of a construction site in Vail. Read more at Vail Daily.
Bag of skeletal remains found in shuttered Delaware coroner’s office Daily Journal
A bag of human remains has been found in the scandal-plagued Delaware Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, raising new questions about the work that was done at the facility before lawmakers shut it down. Read more at Daily Journal.
Amoebas as Time-of-Death Tool Forensic Magazine
One of the most important tasks for a forensic scientist investigating a death is to determine when the person died. Up to 48 hours postmortem, those investigators can use medical methods such as the stiffness or temperature of the body. Read more at Forensic Magazine.
Body found in car boot beside Rookwood Cemetery was most ‘likely mummified’ The Sydney Morning Herald
The decomposing body of a man found in the boot of his own car may have been sitting abandoned on a street in Sydney’s inner-west for up to three weeks. Read more at The Sydney Morning Herald
Archaeology in the News
Rare Artifacts Found in Medieval Graves Archaeology
Nearly 100 cremation burials have been discovered during excavations in Burdąg, Poland by archaeologists from the Institute of Archaeology of the University of Łódź, says a report in Science and Scholarship in Poland. Read more at Archaeology.
Visiting the 6,500-year-old Human Skeleton at the Penn Museum University of Pennsylvania Almanac
The rare, fragile, largely intact 6,500-year-old human skeleton—from the famous Ur excavations in what is now Iraq—that was rediscovered in a Penn Museum storage room through a digital documentation project is now in the Museum’s In the Artifact Lab. Read more at University of Pennsylvania Almanac.
More human remains unearthed in caves on Shropshire border Shropshire Star
The remains were found in an area known as Llanymynech Caves, near Llanymynech. It follows the discovery of human bones in the area last month. Read more at Shropshire Star
A Legal Leg to Stand On: One Man’s Fight To Turn His Amputated Leg Into A Working LampStrange Remains
Mummified human toe found outside Beverly Post Office WA WAToday
Greek grave dug up after mourners hear ‘cries for help’ The Guardian
French Queen’s ‘finger bones’ for sale in Northamptonshire Northampton Chronicle
Header image: 19th Century Anatomical Venus from the Wellcome Collection. Image Credit: Wellcome Collection