Have you checked out our FAQs page? We hear lots of interesting questions in the Artifact Lab every day, and we’re posting some of the more frequently asked ones on there, and providing answers when possible.

We recently added more information about natron to our FAQs-What is natron and what was it used for? Natron is a natural mineral consisting of a mixture of sodium carbonate decahydrate with sodium bicarbonate, sodium chloride, and sodium sulfate-essentially, a salt. Natron was an important part of the mummification process. It was used by embalmers to pack the body, which would help preserve the body by drying it out.

We are interested in observing the presence of natron on objects in the Artifact Lab. One of our mummies, for instance, has a very fine, white, crystalline substance in areas on its wrappings, particularly on the inside of the wrappings. Here is what it looks like:

An example of the white crystalline substance observed on the surface of the textile wrappings on one of our mummies.

And this is what it looks like under the binocular microscope:

That same crystalline substance magnified 7.5X

We also see this on some of the human remains in the lab. Is this natron? We’re hoping to investigate this further.

Read more about natron in the FAQs section of this site.