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The Mummy Congress: Science, Obsession, and…
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The Mummy Congress: Science, Obsession, and the Everlasting Dead (2001)

by Heather Pringle

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383428,125 (4.02)10
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An absolutely fascinating account of all things mummy, from the debate over dissecting them to see what medical use they can be to the methods by which they were preserved, the various uses to which they have been put over the centuries, and more. It's also a very good profile of the scientists and historians who have devoted their lives to the study of these preserved humans. ( )
  JBD1 | Oct 24, 2013 |
Really fascinating book. I've always thought of mummies as the linen-wrapped folks from Egypt. They're really any person that is preserved by human means or by natural means.

She details where mummies have been found, how they were preserved and their culture. She also describes the researchers who study mummies and what studies are done.

Very cool book ( )
  IntrinsiclyMe | Apr 3, 2010 |
After Heather Pringle attended the Mummy Congress, an academic convention for the archaeologists and others who specialize in the study of mummified humans, she was so fascinated that she sought out experts in the field to help satisfy her curiosity about mummies. Along the way, she also reflects on why we are so fascinated by mummies, and what that fascination has historically meant for the treatment of mummified humans. This is a really interesting book, since it reveals the scope of mummy research -- mummies aren't just in Egypt, they have been found all over the globe. Sometimes I was frustrated because I really wanted to spend more time on the individual cases, but since it's sort of an overview of the field it's not possible to cover everything there is to know about the various archaeological sites. I recommend this if you have an interest in archaeology and share my fascination with eerily well-preserved human remains. ( )
  Crowyhead | Jan 12, 2006 |
Showing 4 of 4
All the stories sparkle. Pringle is a crack-shot storyteller. She chooses the level of detail precisely, so that we see the virtual reality but do not lose the plot. . . So why doesn't ''The Mummy Congress'' get anywhere? All those lovely stories are only a list, in no particular order, unrelated except for their shared subject; they don't add up to any larger story.
 
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0786884630, Paperback)

Mummies fascinate us. As we peer at their withered flesh, we are glimpsing a type of immortality. Heather Pringle tells the stories of some of these "frail elders"--and the scientists who study them--in The Mummy Congress.

Pringle details the tension between the preservationists, who want to protect the ancient dead and refuse to unwrap them, and the dissectionists, who see mummies as a repository of scientific data waiting to be studied. She also introduces the reader to the preserved dead from around the world--from the bog bodies of northern Europe to the mysterious Caucasian-looking mummies from China's Tarim Basin, from Egyptians in linen shrouds to incorruptible Christian saints, and from Lenin in his Moscow mausoleum to Incan children found on Andean mountaintops.

Peppered with fascinating snippets of information--for example, for centuries artists were sold on a pigment called "mummy," a transparent brown made from ground-up mummies--The Mummy Congress makes for lively, if somewhat ghoulish reading. Highly recommended. --Sunny Delaney

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:29:39 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Science journalist Heather Pringle explores ancient customs of dealing with the dead, including the ancient Egyptian practice of embalming, horrifying sacrifices performed by South Americans indians, and the modern-day obsession with the preserved dead that has a long and bizarre history.--Container.… (more)

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