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Title: An investigation of the post-mortem status and mummification practices of avian votive mummies in ancient Egypt
Author: Atherton, Stephanie
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2012
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Animals were viewed in ancient Egypt as pets and food; and as religious avatars,divided into cult and votive types (Ikram, 2005a). Research indicated that votivemummies were constructed in two types: true, those which contained skeletalremains; and pseudo, and those which contained non-skeletal remains. Avianremains were particularly prevalent as votive offerings, although no focus on thefollowing aims had previously been ventured: 1) mummification materials andmethods used; 2) how these may indicate status; 3) how to predict which mummies contain true or pseudo remains based on their external appearance. A study group of 120 mummies identified as containing avian remains weresubjected to radiography (115) and light microscopy (5) to understand the aboveresearch aims. Variables were designed to understand the treatment of avian remainsin three stages: prior to and during mummification, and as a mummy bundle; andwere statistically tested against the external appearance of the bundle, to determine the connection between the contents and its container. The first two variables demonstrated much information regarding the thought-processes applied to the avian remains to create ‘complete’ skeletal remains in the mummy bundles, although were shown to not be statistically significant when tested against external appearance. However, the final variable demonstrated a predictive nature in that as the external appearance became more stylised, the appearance of pseudo remains was more apparent, and was found to work in reverse for true remains. The future path of such research will require larger sample numbers of provenanced materials, both chronological and geographical, to understand if museum collections are an unbiased representation of avian mummies from ancient Egypt.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available