Mummies and Mummification

Beatrix Gessler-Löhr

in The Oxford Handbook of Roman Egypt

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199571451
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology

Mummies and Mummification

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  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology of the Near East
  • Egyptian Archaeology



This article discusses mummies and mummification in Roman Egypt. The question of whether mummies from Roman Egypt attest a decline or a late heyday of mummification techniques can be answered firmly in favour of the latter. The different but generally high standards of embalming, using traditional as well as innovative Egyptian craftsmanship including excerebration, evisceration, and large quantities of embalming resins and linen, were dependent on two factors: cost and local practices. The use of extensive linen wrappings, mummy decoration (masks, shrouds, portraits, etc.), amulets, jewellery, and other burial goods, and the gilding of the skin, often correspond to high-quality mummification. However, the extremely high expense of a first-class burial in Roman Egypt was beyond almost everyone's reach.

Keywords: Roman Egypt; mummies; mummification; mummy decoration; amulets; jewellery

Article.  9596 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Archaeology of the Near East ; Egyptian Archaeology

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