In the News

We’ll try to post new and interesting articles, blog posts and video clips about the Penn Museum’s Egyptian collection, In the Artifact Lab, and new stories about projects and discoveries in Egypt here. If you have something interesting to share, please leave a comment.

*Click on the title of the article, in blue, to link to the original article.

Mummy & Daddy: Penn Museum inspires father and daughter

An article in the Philadelphia Inquirer about a father and daughter’s special connection to our museum and In the Artifact Lab.

Mummies and the Usefulness of Death

An interesting article on the history of mummification, the use of mummies in art and medicine, and the most recent theories (and experiments!) on the process of mummification.

Saving face

A report on German conservator Christian Eckmann’s recent evaluation of King Tut’s funerary mask, and what the next steps should be to reverse the epoxy repair of the beard.

Mummification started 1500 years earlier than previously thought

New evidence shows the use of embalming agents on funerary wrappings from mummies that date to the late Neolithic and early Predynastic periods between 4500 and 3100 BCE. Such research supports what we are observing on our Predynastic mummy Bruce.

What Lies Beneath?

We all know about the use of x-ray and CT-scanning technology for virtually “unwrapping” mummies, but have you heard of terahertz imaging? Terahertz technology, probably best known for its potential use in airport security, uses terahertz radiation, which falls between microwaves and infrared on the electromagnetic spectrum. There are many potential applications – read the article (by clicking on the title above) to learn more, and to see how the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago has used this technology to examine bird mummies!

Meteorites used to manufacture Ancient Egyptian jewelry

  • New research and new technology has confirmed that ancient Egyptians were using meteorites to manufacture jewelry in 3200 BCE, 1500 years before iron smelting was developed. Read more about it by following this link.

Egyptian blue and Nanotechnology

  • The ancient Egyptians are known for developing the world’s first synthetic pigment, Egyptian blue. This pigment, made by heating together copper, silica (sand), lime (calcium oxide) and an alkali such as natron (sodium sesquicarbonate) is found on objects from as early as the 4th Dynasty through to the Roman Period. But recent research published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society shows that this pigment may have new uses in nanotechnology.

Doctor to the Mummies

  • This article from the Washington Post traces the career of paleopathologist Dr. Michael Zimmerman. Dr. Zimmerman has studied over 200 mummies around the world, and one of the earliest mummies he examined was PUM I – he was part of the team who autopsied this mummy at the Penn Museum in 1972. We recently re-connected with Dr. Zimmerman-read more about it here. This article also offers some insights into how the study of mummies has changed with advances in technology and how studying ancient remains provides insights into the evolution of humans and disease.

The Secret Life of the Egyptian Collection

  • A great article about our Egyptian collections and how they are being actively used for teaching at Penn as well as being accessed by scholars from all over the world. Includes a slideshow with images from Egyptian storage. Download PDF file here: The secret life of the Egyptian Collection _ Penn Current.

How Penn Museum uses the latest in science to conserve the most ancient of artifacts

  • This is the latest of many articles that have featured In the Artifact Lab. This story was originally printed in the Philadelphia Inquirer on the cover of Science Monday, February 22, 2018. Story by Tom Avril.