New discovery in Egyptian mummification

Impact: Science impacts

Description of impact *

A new discovery in Egyptian mummification was published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE by a multi-disciplinary team from Macquarie University and ANSTO, led by Dr Karin Sowada. Using CT scans and a range of scientific procedures, the study revealed a mummified body of a woman encased in an unfired clay or mud shell located within the wrappings. Using radiocarbon dating, the body was dated to the late New Kingdom (c. 12th century BC). Whereas shells made of resin are known, this is the first time the use of mud or clay has been attested for this type of mummifcation artefact.

The study and results demonstrate the value of researchers, scientists and museums collaborating across history, archaeology and sciencific disciplines to develop new knowledge, to change the way we think about the past, and human responses to death and the afterlife.

The discovery was globally reported in TV, press and social media in many different languages. Outlets included (in Australia) a feature story in Macquarie University 'The Lighthouse', Channel 7 national news, ABC Radio, Cosmos magazine on-line; and overseas CNN (English and Arabic), Live Science, Nature Research Highlights, Archaeology magazine on-line, and many others. Media metrics to 23 February 2021 indicate that news of the discovery reached an audience of over 1bn people worldwide.
Impact date4 Feb 2021
Category of impactScience impacts
Impact levelEmerging (pre)