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RECONSTRUCTED PREDYNASTIC BURIAL

Egypt: Naga el-Deir, Nagada, Abadiyeh
Predynastic Period, ca. 3600-3200 B.C.
Gifts of the Harvard University-Museum of Fine Arts
	Egyptian Expedition, 1921;  the Egyptian Research
	Account, 1895; and the Egypt Exploration Fund and
	Chicago Woman's Club, 1899
OIM 11488 (body)

This body, in a curled position and wrapped in reeds, was buried in a pit in the Egyptian desert more than 5000 years ago. After interment the tomb was heaped high with sand, which was kept in place by piling stones around it. The hot, dry sand, which completely enveloped the body, dehydrated and preserved it.

Around the body were grouped clay jars containing food and drink and a slate palette with grinding stone, used to pulverize mineral pigments for cosmetics. All were intended for use in the next life.

This "mummy," created by naturally occurring environmental conditions, predates Egyptian embalming practices of the pharaonic period by hundreds of years.


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Revised: November 12, 1997
Copyright 2006 Oriental Institute, University of Chicago
http://oi.uchicago.edu