The grail is not the gold, nor the books of ancient wisdom, but the 3,000 year old DNA of the mummies, which may lead to a cure for malaria.
From baboons to bulls, crocodiles to cows, a vast menagerie of animal mummies lie buried in Egyptian catacombs. Hi-tech imaging is now revealing what's inside the bundles and the strange role that animals played in ancient Egyptian beliefs.
Mortality and death have always fascinated humankind. Civilizations from all over the world have practiced mummification as a means of preserving life after death–a ritual which captures the imagination of scientists, artists, and public alike. For nearly everyone the words "pyramids" and "mummies" evoke images of ancient Egypt. Yet those intriguing cultural artifacts are by no means unique to the Land of the Pharoahs. As this collection vividly demonstrates, they are found around the world, including the Americas. Indeed, the oldest mummies in the world, and some of the most sophisticated anywhere, come not from the Nile Valley but from the Atacama Desert in Chile. Mummies have always been with us, and today we turn to them with ever more advanced and refined methods and learning their deep secrets.
A Roman soldier buried under Mount Vesuvius ash. An Irish king preserved in a bog. A teenage Inca girl frozen in time at the peak of the world's tallest active volcano. Mummies are everywhere, and they are turning up in the most unexpected places. Most are in astonishingly good condition, and all have astonishingly good stories to tell. Discover their secrets as we conduct cutting-edge virtual autopsies to solve ancient cold cases and get unprecedented looks into lost civilizations.
Series exploring topical scientific issues. The Horizon team investigate the use of modern medical technology to scan Egyptian animal mummies from museums across the world.