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 laypeople alike. This comprehensive encyclopedia focuses on all aspects of mummies: their ancient and modern history; their scientific study; their occurrence around the world; the religious and cultural beliefs surrounding them; and their roles in literary and cinematic entertainment.
Author and horror guru Matt Cardin brings together 130 original articles written by an international roster of leading scientists and scholars to examine the art, science, and religious rituals of mummification throughout history. Through a combination of factual articles and topical essays, this book reviews cultural beliefs about death; the afterlife; and the interment, entombment, and cremation of human corpses in places like Egypt, Europe, Asia, and Central and South America. Additionally, the book covers the phenomenon of natural mummification where environmental conditions result in the spontaneous preservation of human and animal remains.
- Includes photographs, reproductions of ancient art, images from films and television, and a bibliography to encourage further research
- Features profiles of famous archaeologists and key figures who have been instrumental in bringing the mummy to modern consciousness
- Contains various timelines tracing the exploration of the Egyptian tombs, the birth of modern genetic and radiologic methods of study, the evolution of mummies in film and literature, and the history of mummies around the world
- Highlights key facts and interesting trivia related to mummies in helpful sidebars
- Offers an extensive bibliography to encourage further reading