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Concept: British Museum


Queen Nefertari, the favourite Royal Consort of Pharaoh Ramses II (Ancient Egypt, New Kingdom, 19th Dynasty c. 1250 BC) is famous for her beautifully decorated tomb in the Valley of the Queens. Her burial was plundered in ancient times yet still many objects were found broken in the debris when the tomb was excavated. Amongst the found objects was a pair of mummified legs. They came to the Egyptian Museum in Turin and are henceforth regarded as the remains of this famous Queen, although they were never scientifically investigated. The following multidisciplinary investigation is the first ever performed on those remains. The results (radiocarbon dating, anthropology, paleopathology, genetics, chemistry and Egyptology) all strongly speak in favour of an identification of the remains as Nefertari’s, although different explanations-albeit less likely-are considered and discussed. The legs probably belong to a lady, a fully adult individual, of about 40 years of age. The materials used for embalming are consistent with Ramesside mummification traditions and indeed all objects within the tomb robustly support the burial as of Queen Nefertari.

Concepts: Ancient Egypt, Egypt, Pharaoh, British Museum, Ramesses II, New Kingdom, Nefertari, Nineteenth dynasty of Egypt


Over many centuries, the ancient Egyptians developed a method of preserving bodies so they would remain lifelike. Mummification of bodies was originally a natural process in Egypt, which evolved to a sophisticated embalming system to preserve the individual for the afterlife. Afterwards, mummification continued to be practiced in Egypt for some three thousand years, lasting until the end of the Christian era In the Coptic necropolis of Qarara (Middle Egypt) a total of 17 mummified individuals were studied during the 2012 campaign. One of them was a 6 to 8 old-year male child, which damaged skull allowed us to see the meningeal structures covering the entire cranial vault, in absence of brain remains. This finding in a child mummy is very exceptional, as reflected in the specialized literature.

Concepts: Ancient Egypt, Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, Egypt, Egyptians, Embalming, Mummy, Coptic language, British Museum


The funeral preparations for ancient Egyptian dead were extensive. Tomb walls were often elaborately painted and inscribed with scenes and objects deemed desirable for the afterlife. Votive objects, furniture, clothing, jewelry, and importantly, food including bread, cereals, fruit, jars of wine, beer, oil, meat, and poultry were included in the burial goods. An intriguing feature of the meat and poultry produced for the deceased from the highest levels of Egyptian society was that they were mummified to ensure their preservation. However, little is known about the way they were prepared, such as whether balms were used, and if they were used, how they compared with those applied to human and animal mummies? We present herein the results of lipid biomarker and stable carbon isotope investigations of tissues, bandaging, and organic balms associated with a variety of meat mummies that reveal that treatments ranged from simple desiccation and wrapping in bandages to, in the case of the tomb of Yuya and Tjuia (18th Dynasty, 1386-1349 BC), a balm associated with a beef rib mummy containing a high abundance of Pistacia resin and, thus, more sophisticated than the balms found on many contemporaneous human mummies.

Concepts: Death, Carbon, Ancient Egypt, Embalming, Mummy, British Museum


The debate on the food-drug continuum could benefit from a historical dimension. This study aims at showing this through one case: the food-drug continuum in Greece in the fifth- and fourth-century BCE. I suggest that at the time the boundary between food and drug - and that between dietetics and pharmacology - was rather blurred.

Concepts: Nutrition, Spacetime, Ancient Egypt, Renaissance, Ancient Rome, Alexander the Great, Achaemenid Empire, British Museum


The specialized literature has described how the great anatomist par excellence, Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564), like many other renowned artists of his time, included a self-portrait in many of his works. This article presents novel evidence that Michelangelo inserted his self-portrait into a sketch of his close friend, Vittoria Colonna (1490-1547). This work, made by Michelangelo in 1525, is currently in the collection of the British Museum in London, England. This self-portrait of Michelangelo can serve as a tool for analysing the artist’s probable bodily dimensions and even his state of health during this period of his life. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: England, All rights reserved, Copyright, Renaissance, London, British Museum, Michelangelo, Vittoria Colonna


A radiologic examination (both CT and traditional X-ray) of two mummies curated at the Albany Institute of History and Art revealed the identity of the mummified remains as well as details of the person’s life style parameters (markers of occupational stress). These mummies, brought to the Institute over 100 years ago, were unstudied until 1989. This preliminary study led to the misappropriation of the remains, and subsequent switching of the remains within their coffins. Recent and more detailed analyses lead to the correct identification of sex, a re-association of the remains to their interment coffins, as well as a detailed analysis of occupational markers. A prosthetic toe was identified in one of the mummies which lead to the functional exploration of prosthetics in the past including their use as part of funerary processing in ancient Egypt. Finally, details of the embalming process place the wrapped mummy within the time frame identified on the coffin of the mummy identified as Ankhefenmut as well as confirming his social status. Anat Rec, 298:1047-1058, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Concepts: Ancient Egypt, Egypt, Embalming, Burial, Mummy, Egyptian language, British Museum, The Mummy


In ancient populations, a significant quantity of foot pathology was related either to the type of footwear they used or the underlying terrain they walked on. Our study was carried out to analyze these parameters with the foot pathologies the mummies presented.

Concepts: Biology, Pathology, Foot, Ancient Egypt, Embalming, Forensic pathology, Mummy, British Museum


The British Museum, based in Montague House, Bloomsbury, opened its doors on 15 January 1759, as the world’s first state-owned public museum. The Museum’s collection mostly originated from Sir Hans Sloane (1660-1753), whose vast holdings were purchased by Parliament shortly after his death. The largest component of this collection was objects of natural history, including a herbarium made up of 265 bound volumes, many of which were classified according to the late seventeenth-century system of John Ray (1627-1705). The 1750s saw the emergence of Linnaean binomial nomenclature, following the publication of Carl Linnaeus' Species Plantarum (1753) and Systema Naturae (1758). In order to adopt this new system for their collections, the Trustees of the British Museum chose to employ the Swedish naturalist and former student of Linnaeus, Daniel Solander (1733-1782) to reclassify the collection. Solander was ordered to devise a new system for classifying and cataloguing Sloane’s natural history collection, which would allow both Linnaeans and those who followed earlier systems to access it. Solander’s work was essential for allowing the British Museum to realize its aim of becoming a public centre of learning, adapting the collection to reflect the diversity of classificatory practices which were existent by the 1760s. This task engaged Solander until 1768, when he received an offer from Joseph Banks (1743-1820) to accompany him on HMS Endeavour to the Pacific.

Concepts: Natural history, Museum, Royal Society, Carl Linnaeus, Systema Naturae, British Museum, Hans Sloane, Natural History Museum


The first annual Stroke Translational Research Advancement Workshop (STRAW), entitled “Uncovering the Rosetta Stone: Key Elements in Translating Stroke Therapeutics from Pre-Clinical to Clinical” was held at the University of Kentucky on October 4-5, 2017. This workshop was organized by the Center for Advanced Translational Stroke Science. The workshop consisted of 2 days of activities. These included three presentations establishing the areas of research in stroke therapeutics, discussing the routes for translation from bench to bedside, and identifying successes and failures in the field. On day 2, grant funding opportunities and goals for the National Institute for Neurological Diseases and Stroke were presented. In addition, the meeting also included break-out sessions designed to connect researchers in areas of stroke, and to foster potential collaborations. Finally, the meeting concluded with an open discussion among attendees led by a panel of experts.

Concepts: Translation, Translational medicine, British Museum, Rosetta Stone, Rosetta, Egyptian hieroglyphs, Jean-François Champollion


A previous study of the computed tomography (CT) of the neck of mummified Ramesses III (1190-1070 BC) suggested that an assailant slit the Pharaoh’s throat with a knife in the plot known as Harem conspiracy. We hypothesized the presence of other injuries in the Pharaoh’s body as a result of this fatal attack.

Concepts: Ancient Egypt, Neck, Plot, Mummy, British Museum, Ramesses III, New Kingdom, Ramesses IV