Anthropology Presentations

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Perhaps the most sensational and best-known feature of Egyptian mummification, the removal of the brain, is commonly attributed to the New Kingdom onward (e.g. [1]). Variability both within and between excerebration techniques, however, is poorly appreciated in the literature [2], and reporting of excerebration is often inconsistent, greatly simplified, or simply absent in descriptions of mummified remains, making detailed comparative studies difficult if not impossible.

The goals of this study were to demonstrate:

  • variability in mummy excerebration techniques
  • temporal and status trends in brain treatment
  • the limitations of the literature for large studies

This study focuses on computed tomography (CT), as a non-destructive gold standard for mummies studies, in the examination of three primary treatments of the brain in mummification:

  1. transnasal craniotomy (TNC)
  2. transforaminal craniotomy (TFC)
  3. the absence of excerebration

in relation to their radiological indications and their variations with time and status.


Poster presentation at the 79th annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropology held in Albuquerque, NM in April 2010