The exciting, breaking news from the world of archeology is the discovery in Scotland of two "Frankenstein" mummies. The body parts of these mummies were comprised of several different persons, hence the reference to Frankenstein. Quite a strange and perplexing arrangement and experts can only speculate for its reasoning. I think the best theory I've read so far is that the combining of body parts could be reperesentative of the joining of familes in either landownership or marriage. I am confused about the use of the description, "mummified", however. Someone could perhaps enlighten me, but I was under the impression that mummification implied some preservation of skin tissue, whereas these mummies were only skeletal remains. Unless there was some preperation for mummification apparent in the grave, then I'm a little perplexed at this classification.
However, two other bodies looked especially strange -- those of a man and a woman found in tight fetal positions as if they had been tightly wrapped up, reminiscent of "mummy bundles" seen in South America and other parts of the world. These bodies were apparently mummified on purpose, the first evidence of deliberate mummification in the ancient Old World outside of Egypt.
Not sure if I buy that, because, as you mentioned, they weren't really mummified. Egyptians did it on purpose. I believe the South American mummies were naturally preserved by the dry air and altitude (little bacteria to eat them away). I could be wrong on that. In Egypt, even peasant graves can contain "mummies." For all the work priests did on royalty, the dry desert sand did a pretty good job by itself on peasants.
Mineral alterations of the outer layer of the bones suggest they were entombed in acidic surroundings, such as those found in nearby peat bogs. Exposures to such bogs for a year or so would have mummified them, stopping microbes from decomposing the bodies by essentially tanning them in much the same way that animal skin is turned into leather.
If I recall correctly, bog bodies, which are very well preserved, are often corpses of either murder victims or people who were executed. (There was debate on murder/execution issue.) The bodies were dumped in the bog and unintentionally preserved.
However, they're saying these bodies were assembled and buried some 600 years after the folks died. In scientific terms, that is just plain Bizarr-O
Whether there is skin on them or not, those skeletons are in very good condition for almost 4,000 years old. With that level of preservation, the acidic compounds, and other factors, I do think you could call them mummies. Mainly, it's a better headline than "Frankenstein Skeletons."
Thank-you, goodeknight, and you're right about the peat bog mummies- there is every indication that they were slain, whether voluntarily so or otherwise. The bindings of the peat mummies were used to either restrain unwilling victims or to prevent volunteers from "changing their minds". We may never know the true motivation of this old mystery. Your comment clarifies quite a bit for me about the different, vague classifications of mummies. The "Frankenstein" mummies is an odd story indeed and I'm excited to hear what future knowledge surfaces from it. I'm reminded of a certain tomb in Egypt where the bones of many different animals and people were pulverized to hide some secret. It can only be speculated upon by different groups, but one theory is very chilling: The Egyptians were perhaps attempting to create new species either through inter-breeding or rearranging parts of different, live species to create some, new abomination. Man and beast as one? If this is true, then I'll say it again- "Chilling", indeed.
Last edited by foreverwingnut : 07-11-2012 at 09:15 AM.
one theory is very chilling: The Egyptians were perhaps attempting to create new species either through inter-breeding or rearranging parts of different, live species to create some, new abomination. Man and beast as one? If this is true, then I'll say it again- "Chilling", indeed.
This man-beast supposition to explain these pulverized remains was presented by the ancient alien theorists, improbable though it is when one considers the complexities involved in micro and neuro surgery, not to mention drugs. However- aliens aside- there is an intriguing contemplation here. Could the ancient Egyptians have combined the parts of dead men and beasts in effigy of their gods in religious ceremonies? Some monstrous patchwork of man and jackal or bull head? If this was so, then it may have later been deemed sacriligious or blasphemous and crushing the remains beyond recognition could have been in order. I find it interesting, too, that the dead whose names had been stricken from the records or their hearts destroyed were prevented from being judged in the underworld, thus ending their existence in any form. Crushing a man's remains would certainly disallow him from having an afterlife. We have to assume that there was a great purpose for total obliteration of this sort. The mind wonders.
I've tried to track down an article about the Egyptian tomb filled with the pulverized bones of man and beasts, but I've had little luck finding anything substantial. It's surprising to me that this story hasn't garnered more research, but I did pick up one, more tantalizing tidbit before I lay this particular story to rest: Near this Egyptian tomb, there was an inscription on a wall that told of a monstrous abomination- mixed with the parts of man and several different animals- that terrorized the people. This creature was slain and ordered to be destroyed in such a manner that it may never rise again. I still say that a man-beast effigy comprised of dead animal and human parts sewn together would be ample cause for hysteria, but that's just my opinion. One impressive theory about the invention of mythological beasts is that ancient man perhaps tried to explain the bones of dinosaurs that littered the ground in deserts and islands. Dragons, for instance, is the first logical assumption one could make when seeing a mysterious prehistoric skeleton, but the origin for Cyclops has also been speculated upon with particular interest. Skeletal remains of Deinotherium giganteum- predecessors of elephants- have been found about Greece and were visible atop the ground in the days of ancient man. Paleontologists believe that, if you can imagine rearranging the bones in an upright, bipedal manner, then one can easily see the form of a monstrous man with one eye centered in the nasal hole of the skull. Very cool.