Tags: meat | mummies | resin | egypt

Ancient Egyptians Mummified Food as Carefully as Their Dead

By    |   Tuesday, 19 Nov 2013 10:04 PM

Ancient Egyptians not only believed they could take material possessions — art, furniture, and jewelry — with them after they died, they also believed they could enjoy their beer, wine, and slabs of meat.

Such "meat mummies" are more elaborate than once thought, NBC News reports.

A reanalysis of excavated tombs from the 14th century B.C. shows that wrapped-up animal products contained resin that preserved the 4,000-year-old meat beautifully.

"The poultry looks like you've just gone to Safeway and bought a roast bird," said Salima Ikram, of the American University in Cairo. "And they're almost 4,000 years old."

Ikram analyzed "meat mummies" from the Cairo and British museums that contained beef, duck, and goat, and said she found a type of resin called pistacia that helped preserve flavor.

"The resin flavor would have made it nicer, sort of like teriyaki beef jerky rather than plain beef jerky," she said.

The analysis found that the extent to which the Egyptians preserved their bounty would have cost a lot of money, and primarily was reserved for the wealthy.

"Tutankhamen had about 40 boxes of meat and poultry —  remember, he was a growing boy, so his appetite was considerable," Ikram said.

Just as the Egyptians wanted their riches, they also wanted their delicacies: a dish consisting of the lungs and tail of an ox was found in the tomb of Queen Isetemkheb.

"It's kind of cool to think of oxtail soup as being on the menu for the afterlife," Ikram said.

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Ancient Egyptians not only believed they could take material possessions - art, furniture, and jewelry - with them after they died, they also believed they could enjoy their beer, wine, and slabs of meat. Such "meat mummies" are more elaborate than once thought, NBC News . . .
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Tuesday, 19 Nov 2013 10:04 PM
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