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2 October 2015

At http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/fall-2015/article/mummification-was… … which means it was probably common across Europe too. University of Sheffield archaeologists have developed a process to show that some bones were not as badly affected by bacterial erosion (the process of putrefaction) as other burials (which were laid to rest with no attempt at preservation. The idea that Bronze Age communities invested resources, and time, in mummification and curating a proportion of their dead fundamentally alters archaeological perceptions of funerary ritual – and the beliefs of the people involved.

Using microscopic bone analysis the researchers have a tool to be able to find out if a body was mummified prior to internment. Because of the damp climate in Britain bodies deteriorate very quickly, even mummified ones, yet some of them have been preserved in bogs (peat). Were mummified remains kept as a heirloom by families and communities and interned only after their immediate relatives had themselves died.

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