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A mummy is a body preserved by embalming. It is subjected to a special chemical treatment, due to which the process of tissue decomposition slows down or stops altogether. Mummification is possible both natural and artificial.
There have always been many secrets around mummies, they attracted the interest of both scientists and ordinary people. The image of the dead, but as if sleeping people, was often frightened. People are interested in the process of mummification, as they always wanted to touch the previously unknown border between the world of the living and the dead.
But the search and excavation of ancient burials has always remained the lot of desperate daredevils. Nevertheless, today many mummies from all over the world are in museums.
With their help, you can learn a lot about ancient cults without visiting remote and exotic countries, risking your health and life. Legends, however, say that communication with mummies is unsafe, and the disturbed dead can take revenge on living people.
Mummification was especially studied in Ancient Egypt, where almost everyone could afford to preserve their body after death. During the era of the pharaohs, this became a sacred tradition. In total, over the past 3 thousand years, about 70 million people have been allegedly mummified.
In the IV century, most of the Egyptians converted to Christianity, according to the new faith, mummification was not needed for life after death. As a result, the ancient tradition was gradually forgotten, and most of the tombs were plundered in ancient times by vandals and thieves looking for treasures.
During the Middle Ages, the destruction of mummies continued - they were even ground into powder, creating "magic" potions. The modern day treasure hunters have continued the destruction of tombs. Even the relatively recent 19th century contributed to the destruction of mummies - the bandages of the mummies were used as paper, burning bodies for fuel.
Today, mummification is carried out on a completely scientific basis, an example of this is the mausoleums with the bodies of the leaders of the socialist countries. Below are the ten most famous mummies in human history.
Tutankhamun is the most famous mummy. She is now in the Valley of the Kings near Luxor. Historians believe that this pharaoh did not stand out among the line of rulers. Having entered the throne at the age of 10, already at the age of 19, Tutankhamun died. According to the data of Egyptologists, the young man died in 1323 BC. his death. But the most interesting events related to the personality of this pharaoh began three millennia after his death. In 1922, the British Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun, untouched by robbers. After the archaeologists opened the wooden and stone coffins nested in each other, they discovered a golden sarcophagus. Since there was no air in it, even the flowers were well preserved inside, not to mention the jewelry. The pharaoh's face was covered with a mask of pure gold. However, this was followed by a series of accidents, which gave rise to talk about the curse of the ancient priests. Just a year later, Carnarvon unexpectedly died of pneumonia (there were rumors of a mysterious mosquito), followed by Carter's assistants, suddenly death overtook Archibald Reed, a scientist who wanted to make an X-ray of the mummy. The society was not interested in reasonable arguments, and after all, most of the deceased scientists were already of advanced age. Moreover, Carter himself was the last to die, in 1939. The newspapermen simply adjusted the facts to create a mysterious legend.
Seti I. Among the famous mummies, another Egyptian find stands out - the remains of Seti I. He was one of the greatest warrior-pharaohs in history, who also became the father of another legendary ruler - Ramses II the Great. Seti's reign dates back to the 19th dynasty. According to the surviving records, the pharaoh successfully defended Egypt from the invading army of neighboring Libya. It was thanks to Seti I that Egyptian power extended to the borders of modern Syria. Pharaoh ruled for 11 years, doing a lot for the prosperity of his country. His grave was discovered in 1917 by accident. Heavy rain caused a collapse of the earth and opened the entrance to the tomb, but inside the researchers saw that robbers had already been here a long time ago and there were no mummies inside. The very opening of the tomb became a resonant phenomenon, like the opening of the tomb of Tutankhamun. But in 1881, in the cache of Deir el-Bahri, the well-preserved mummy of Seti was nevertheless found. Today it is kept in the Cairo Egyptian Museum.
Ramses II The son of Set, Ramses II the Great reigned for 67 years in 1279-1212 BC. At the time of his death, the pharaoh was over 90 years old. Ramses became one of the most famous rulers of Ancient Egypt. His mummy was discovered by G. Maspero and E. Brugsh in the aforementioned cache of Deir el-Bahri in 1881 among other royal bodies. Now it is in the Cairo Museum, giving an excellent opportunity to imagine what the great ruler looked like. Although then an ordinary Egyptian did not exceed 160 cm, the growth of the pharaoh was about 180 cm. Scientists note that the facial features of the mummy are similar to the images of the ruler in his youth. In 1974, the museum's Egyptologists discovered that the mummy's condition began to deteriorate. It was decided to send the valuable exhibit to Paris for a medical examination; for this, Ramses even received an Egyptian passport. In France, the mummy was processed and diagnosed. She testified that Ramses had wounds and fractures from the battles, and also suffered from arthritis. Experts were even able to identify some types of herbs and flowers that were used for embalming, such as chamomile oil.
Ramses I. The grandfather of Ramses the great and the founder of the Ramsesid dynasty was Ramses I. Before becoming a ruler, Pharaoh had the following official titles: "Head of all the horses of Egypt", "Commandant of fortresses", "Royal scribe", "His Majesty's charioteer" and others. Prior to his reign, Ramses was known as a military leader and dignitary to Parames, serving his predecessor, Pharaoh Horemheb. It was these two pharaohs who were able to restore the economy and political stability in the country, which were shaken after the religious reforms of Akhenaten. The tomb of Ramses I was accidentally found in Deir el-Bahri by Ahmed Abd el-Rasul while he was looking for his lost goat. The man was a well-known member of the family of tomb robbers. Ahmed began selling numerous items from the burial to tourists and collectors. When the tomb was officially discovered in 1881, the mummy of the pharaoh himself was no longer there. The burial contained 40 other mummies, sarcophagi and numerous exhibits, including the coffin of Ramses himself. According to research in diaries, letters and reports of the time, it was discovered that the Canadian physician James Douglas purchased the mummy for 7 pounds in 1860. He purchased the relic for a museum owner in Niagara. It was there that it was kept for the next 130 years, until it was acquired by the Michael Carlos Museum in Atlanta for $ 2 million. Of course, there was some doubt that this is the mummy of Ramses, lost in the 19th century. However, the results of the computed tomography, X-ray and radiocarbon analysis showed the similarity of the body with other representatives of the dynasty, especially since there was also an external similarity. As a result, the mummy of the pharaoh was returned with honors to Egypt in 2003.
Otzi (or Otzi). Among the sinister mummies, Otzi (or Oetzi) occupies a special place. In 1991, two German tourists discovered a body frozen in ice in the Alps. At first they mistook him for modern, but only in the morgue of the Austrian Innsbruck was Otzi's true age recognized. Naturally mummified man was kept in ice for about 5 thousand years and belongs to the Chalcolithic era. Fragments of his clothing are perfectly preserved, although many of them were taken as souvenirs. As a result of numerous publications about the mummy, she was given more than 500 nicknames, but the story remains the one that the Viennese reporter Wendel gave her in honor of the Ötztal valley. In 1997, the official name of the find was also given - Ice Man. Today, the find is kept in the South Tyrol Archaeological Museum in Bolzano. Otzi's height at the time of death was 165 cm, and his weight was 50 kg. The man's age was about 45 years old, he ate deer meat for the last time, and belonged to a small tribe engaged in agriculture. Otzi had 57 tattoos on him, with a copper ax, a bow and many objects. Scientists eventually dismissed the original version that Otzi was simply frozen in the mountains. Numerous wounds, bruises and fractures, traces of other people's blood were found on his body. Forensic experts believe that Ice Man rescued his fellow tribesmen and carried them on his shoulders, or he was simply buried in the Alps. A curse story is also associated with the name of this mummy. It is said that the found Ice Man caused the death of six people. The first of these was the German tourist Helmut Simon. He received a prize of 100 thousand dollars for his find and, to celebrate, decided to visit this place again. However, there he was overtaken by death in the form of a blizzard. As soon as the funeral was over, the rescuer, who had now found Simon, died of a heart attack. The medical examiner who examined the body of Otzi also died in a car accident soon after, and this happened at the time of his trip to television to give an interview about the find. A professional climber who accompanied the researchers to the place of discovery was also killed - a huge stone fell on his head during a collapse. A couple of years have passed and now an Austrian journalist who was present during the transportation of the mummy and who made a documentary about her died of a brain tumor. The last of the victims of the mummy today is considered an Austrian archaeologist who studied the body. But hundreds of people were involved in the study of the mummy, so such a chain could just be an accident.
Princess Ukok. In 1993, a sensational discovery was made in Altai. During excavations of an ancient burial mound, the well-preserved body of a woman was discovered in the ice, who was named Princess Ukok. She died at the age of 25, and lived in the 5th-3rd centuries BC. In the found chamber, in addition to the mummy, the remains of six horses with saddles and harnesses were also found, which testified to the high status of the buried woman. She was also well dressed, and there were numerous tattoos on her body. Although scientists were delighted with the find, the locals immediately began to talk about the fact that the disturbed grave and the spirit of the princess would bring misfortune. Some Altai argue that the mummy, now stored in the Novosibirsk Institute of Archeology and Ethnography, should be buried or returned to its native lands. The consequence of the disturbance of the peace of mind was the more frequent earthquakes and seismological activity in Altai, and the increased number of gratuitous suicides. It is believed that all these events are the revenge of the princess. They even talk about broken devices and crashed helicopters, on which they planned to carry the mummy, but information about this has not been confirmed. Although popular rumor elevated the mummy to the rank of a princess - the progenitor of all Altai peoples, scientists have debunked this myth. The woman was wealthy but middle class. In addition, DNA studies showed that she belonged to the Caucasian race, which caused protest and distrust from the local peoples belonging to the Mongoloids.
Xin Zhui. In 1971, the mummy of a wealthy Chinese woman of the Han dynasty named Xin Zhui was discovered in the Chinese city of Changsha. She died in 168 BC. at the age of 50. The wife of a high-ranking official, a representative of the ancient Thai people, was buried in an unusual way. There were only four sarcophagi, and they were nested one inside the other, delaying the decomposition procedures. The body itself was floating in 80 liters of a yellowish liquid, the recipe for which remained unclear, since it immediately evaporated. The autopsy gave amazing results - the body weighed only 35 kg, while the joints remained mobile, and the muscles were still elastic. Even the skin has retained its tone. Many different items were found near the deceased, including recipes for her favorite dishes. Also in the sarcophagus, dozens of books on medicine were found, where in the smallest details were told about operations to augment the brain and bypass surgery. The researchers also found another unusual find there. A 1: 180,000 scale map of three Chinese provinces was drawn on a square meter piece of silk. However, the accuracy of the drawing was amazing! It absolutely matched the satellite data. The mystery of the mummy was also given by the death of one of the scientists who participated in the research from an incomprehensible disease. Now the mummy is located in the historical museum of Changsha.
Tarim mummies. At the beginning of the 20th century, Tarim mummies were discovered in the desert places of the Tarim Basin. It is noteworthy that these people were Caucasians, confirming the theory of the wide distribution of people of this race in inner Asia. The most ancient mummies date back to the 17th century BC. These people had long blond or red hair that was braided into braids. Their fabric is also well preserved - cloaks made of felt and leggings with a checkered pattern. One of the most famous Tarim mummies is the Loulan Beauty. This young woman was about 180 cm tall and had light brown hair. She was found in 1980 in the vicinity of Loulan. The find is more than 3800 years old. Today the woman's remains are kept in the museum of the city of Urumqi. It is noteworthy that next to her was found the burial of a 50-year-old man with hair braided in 2 braids and a 3-month-old baby with a bottle and cow horns and a teat from the udder of a sheep. There were also found objects of ancient utensils - a cap, a sieve, a bag. Craniometric research data suggest that Tarim mummies have an anthropological similarity to Indo-Europeans.
Dashi Dorzho Itigelov. In 2002, an important event took place - the opening of the sarcophagus with the body of the famous Buryat figure of the early XX century - Dasha Dorzho Itigelov. The Buddhist ascetic became famous during his lifetime. He was born in 1852, becoming famous both as a monk and as an expert in Tibetan medicine. Information about his relatives has not been preserved, which gives Buddhists the opportunity to cherish the legend of the extraterrestrial origin of the priest. From 1911 until the Revolution, he was the head of the Russian Buddhists. In 1927, the lama gathered his disciples and ordered them to visit his body 30 years later, and then, reading prayers, he went to nirvana. The body of the deceased was placed in a cedar box and, according to his will, was opened in 1955 and 1973 in order to make sure that it was incorruptible. No posthumous changes or signs of decomposition were found on the deceased. After 2002, the deceased, without creating any special conditions, was placed in a glass in a monastery for everyone to see. Although any biomedical research on the body was banned after 2005, hair and nail analysis showed. That their protein structure corresponds to the state of a living person, but the bromine content exceeds the norm by 40 times. They did not manage to find any scientific explanations for the phenomenon, while thousands of pilgrims reached for the incorruptible body in Buryatia, Ivolginsky datsan.
Lenin. The name of Lenin is familiar to everyone in our country. This is a Russian and Soviet political and statesman, the founder of the Bolshevik Party, one of the organizers and leaders of the October Revolution of 1917. Vladimir Ilyich was the chairman of the Council of People's Commissars, first in Russia, and then in the USSR. In 1924, the leader died, and they decided to save his body.For this, Professor Abrikosov was called in, who embalmed the deceased with a special composition. By the day of the funeral, a wooden mausoleum was built. Initially, the embalming was calculated for a short time in order to have time for the funeral. Abrikosov himself considered the struggle to preserve the body senseless, since science simply does not know how to do this, especially since cadaveric spots and pigmentation appeared on the body. The debate about the methods of mummification has been going on for a long time - about 2 months! The method of low temperatures with the installation of a refrigerator was rejected, on March 26, work began on the body using a quickly developed unique method, similar to the Egyptian mummification. By that time, the body had already acquired dramatic changes. The dark spots were removed with acetic acid, the soft tissues were soaked in formaldehyde solution and embalming agents. On August 1, 1924, the Mausoleum was opened to the public, almost 120 million people passed by the sarcophagus. The mummy is periodically subjected to biochemical treatment, while experts believe that with proper care, the remains can persist indefinitely. Currently, there are disputes over the very fact of the mummification of the leader. Its role in history has already been revised, and the fact of preserving the body was not personal (with the permission and request of relatives), but political. Increasingly, calls are heard to bury Lenin in the ground.