domingo, novembro 20, 2011

To be or not to be...mummified

To be or not to be...mummified.

A recent study done on an Egyptian mummy housed in a Portuguese Museum (not shown here) brought to light the difference between an Egyptologist and a Museologist. The first is someone who does research in any aspect of ancient Egyptian civilization, contributing to a deeper knowledge of the thoughts and daily life of ancient Egyptians. Now, this is not the case of the Prof. who is followed by a group of Egyptomaniacs in Portugal, who does nothing else but teach the obvious, scare his students about other Universities, courses and teachers, and study Museum pieces.

The study in question was published in the International Journal of Paleopathology - Prostate metastatic bone cancer in an Egyptian Ptolemaic mummy, a proposed radiological diagnosis - and it reveals the probable unique case of an Egyptian mummy dated to around 600 BCE, with prostate cancer.


There is great interest in the history and occurrence of human cancer in antiquity and particularly in ancient Egyptian populations. Despite the number of Egyptian mummies and skeletons studied through various means, evidence of primary or metastatic cancer lesions is rare. The Digital Radiography and Multi Detector Computerized Tomography (MDCT) scans of a male Ptolemaic Egyptian mummy, from the Museu Nacional de Arqueologia (MNA) in Lisbon displayed several focal dense bone lesions located mainly on the spine, pelvis and proximal extremities. The exceptional detail of the MDCT images allowed the proposed diagnosis of osteoblastic metastatic disease, with the prostate being the main hypothesis of origin. These radiologic findings in a wrapped mummy, to the best of our knowledge, have never previously been documented, and could be one of the oldest evidence of this disease, as well as being the cause of death.

The mummy belongs to the National Archaeology Museum in Lisboa, and it is part of a wider program to include also animal mummies housed at the same museum.
Dr, Salima Ikram is in the team and has recently given an interview to a Portuguese journal where she mentions the project. She is also one of the authors of the scientific article, along with Dr. Prates from the Imagiology Institute and others.
I have read this article in detail, and was amazed to find this outstanding findings (excuse me for the pleonasm), as I have researched upon cancer in ancient Egypt, and, although not many cases are found yet, this is a disease that leaves no trace in the body, kills in a short period of time, and may show us only the metastasis from the primary cancer in the bones. Therefore the maxima: absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

I have already refuted some scholars' publications that say cancer is a modern disease (above link). This case proves that is a more ancient one. I was requested to express a public comment for Discovery about his, which made me happy to be able to contribute to the speading of this information.

To be mummified was important to preserve your body for the after life, so that your ba (an almost synonym of soul) could recognize your previous capsule (body) and re-enter it.

If you are aware of the importance of mummy studies, Egyptian or not, pay attention to this case; if not, if you are a mere museologist or museum enthusiast/tourist/curious person, agree with the professor who said otherwise in a public appearance (the inauguration of an ancient Egyptian museum room).

As ancient Egyptian believed that what is evil should not be repeated and worse, written down, I am not quoting him.

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