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Blood, a simple question?

 
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Toth
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 10:05 pm    Post subject: Blood, a simple question? Reply with quote

I think we all can agree on the fact that even pharaohs contain blood. Now to my knowledge blood will make muscles an veins rigid when the owner of the body dies. How did the ancient embalmers solve this problem, i.o.w. what did they with the blood?
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 6:03 pm    Post subject: Re: Blood, a simple question? Reply with quote

Toth wrote:
I think we all can agree on the fact that even pharaohs contain blood. Now to my knowledge blood will make muscles an veins rigid when the owner of the body dies. How did the ancient embalmers solve this problem, i.o.w. what did they with the blood?


I'm guessing you are referring to rigor mortis, which initially tightens the body's muscles (it has nothing to do with blood, however). However, as there are 26 stages in the human death process, you may be unaware that the body's muscles then release after full rigor completes, and the body returns to a limp state.

See The 26 Stages of Death, specifically no. 13, which indicates this return to limpness can occur between 24-72 hours after death.

Blood stays in liquid form and settles to the lowest points of the body after death, a process called lividity. Pooling of the blood can be a vital clue in determining the time of death and is known scientifically as hypostasis. Blood remains in a viscous/liquid form, which can escape the body via leaking during decomposition.

During the ancient Egyptian mummification process, most liquids of the body are dessicated when covered in natron, which absorbs the body effluxes (water, gastric acids, urine, blood, faeces, etc.)

HTH.
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Toth
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Neseret,

Yes I was referring to rigor mortis, but only a long time after I posted the above, I found out about that the body's muscles release again, in a different thread. Nevertheless, I will follow the link and learn. Thank you agin for the extensive answer, I just hope you aren't getting bored by my seemingly ignorant questions
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did the effect of the desiccation always occur fast enough to prevent the start of decomposition or are there mummies where part decomposition is recognizable?
Given that the natron had to work its way from the outside of the body to the inside it could sometimes well have been "too late" for some body parts I guess, especially in bodies of large or fat people.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sothis wrote:
Did the effect of the desiccation always occur fast enough to prevent the start of decomposition or are there mummies where part decomposition is recognizable?
Given that the natron had to work its way from the outside of the body to the inside it could sometimes well have been "too late" for some body parts I guess, especially in bodies of large or fat people.


Sothis, in one of anneke's threads talking about mummies, there is the explicit mentioning of the mummy of an obese lady perhaps there the signs you hint as "too late" were showing there;in the same thread there is a link to a museum site putting mummies on display, they also have a pdf on the matter for download. A word of warning: Some look quite good, some look horrible; perhaps this gives you some answers to your questions?
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sothis wrote:
Did the effect of the desiccation always occur fast enough to prevent the start of decomposition or are there mummies where part decomposition is recognizable?


The "normal" dessication process, we are told in Herodotus, took place within the 70 days of mummification*. When Bob Brier did his famous modern mummifcation some 16 years ago, he found that the drying process of mummification only took 35 days.

However, that said, we do have a few mummies who show signs of decomposition - most notably that of Seqenenre Tao, the father of Kamose and Ahmose (founders of the 18th Dynasty) with severe decomposition already ongoing when his body was mummified. It is thought Seqenenre Tao died in battle and it took some time to retrieve the body from the battlefield and then transport it back to Egypt for mummification.

There's been some talk that Tutankhamun showed signs of decomposition, but I have not been able to verify that. His corpse seems fairly well-preserved, so one has to question where this is coming from.

Sothis wrote:
Given that the natron had to work its way from the outside of the body to the inside it could sometimes well have been "too late" for some body parts I guess, especially in bodies of large or fat people.


According to Brier's modern mummification process, he covered his subject in 600 lbs of naturon for 35 days, with the subject "...completely desiccated. The moisture that he lost amounted to 100 of his original 160 pounds." Natron chemically destroys fat and grease, so I doubt it caused any specific problems for the Egyptians.

When one studies mummies which were obviously corpulent in life, the skin tends to hang to the frame (bones) of the subject in rolls of skin, with the underlying fat all removed. Women's breasts, for example, which are made up of fat and water, tend to become flattened along the ribcage and lose all form.

* The record for a mummification procedure in ancient Egypt is 252 days, to an Old Kingdom queen, according to Ikram and Dodson (1998), as I recall.
Best works on this subject are:

Andrews, C. 1984. Egyptian Mummies. London: British Museum Press.

d'Auria, S., P. Lacovara, et al. 1988. Mummies and Magic: The Funerary Arts of Ancient Egypt. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts.

David, R., Ed. 1978. Mystery of the Mummies: The Story of the Manchester University Investigation. London: Book Club Associates.

Ikram, S. and A. Dodson. 1998. The Mummy in Ancient Egypt: Equipping the Dead for Eternity. London: Thames and Hudson.

Janot, F. 2000. Les instruments d'embaument de l'Égypte ancienne. Bibliothéque d'Étude 125. Cairo: Institut Français d'Archéologie Orientale.

Taylor, J. 2001. Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt. London/Chicago: British Museum Press/University of Chicago.

HTH.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Toth wrote:
Sothis wrote:
Did the effect of the desiccation always occur fast enough to prevent the start of decomposition or are there mummies where part decomposition is recognizable?
Given that the natron had to work its way from the outside of the body to the inside it could sometimes well have been "too late" for some body parts I guess, especially in bodies of large or fat people.


Sothis, in one of anneke's threads talking about mummies, there is the explicit mentioning of the mummy of an obese lady perhaps there the signs you hint as "too late" were showing there;in the same thread there is a link to a museum site putting mummies on display, they also have a pdf on the matter for download. A word of warning: Some look quite good, some look horrible; perhaps this gives you some answers to your questions?


In addition to the previous post those mummy photographs must have been from he Theban Royal Mummy Project: at http://members.tripod.com/anubis4_2000/Bookmarks.htm advise: don't have a heavy lunch or dinner before watching these mummies, like I wrote in the previous post, some really look horrible
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