Egyptian Canopic Jars at the Crossroad of Medicine and Archaeology: Overview of 100 Years of Research and Future Scientific Expectations

Sidney Senti, Michael E. Habicht, Enrique Rayo, Patrick E. Eppenberger, Frank J. Rühli, Francesco M. Galassi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract


Ancient Egyptian human remains have been of interest in the fields of both medical and Egyptological research for decades. However, canopic jar holders for internal organs (liver, lungs, stomach, intestines) of Egyptian mummies appear to be but a very occasional source of data for such investigations. The few medical approaches focusing on the content of these jars are summarized and listed according to pathogens and diseases to give a structured overview of this field of study. An extensive search of the literature has been conducted from different bibliographic databases with a total of n = 26 studies found. The majority of diseases found consisted of infectious diseases and internal medicine conditions such as schistosomiasis or emphysema. These are just 2 examples of many that, instead of primarily affecting bone, muscle or skin, specifically target internal organs. Hence, a better understanding of the evolution of diseases that still affect mankind could be gained. In conclusion, this reassessment shows that canopic jars represent a highly underestimated source for histological, radiological and ancient DNA examination of Ancient Egyptian remains and should, thus, be more and more brought back into the focus of retrospective medical research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-275
Number of pages9
JournalPathobiology
Volume85
Issue number5-6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Genetics
  • Mummy
  • Soft tissue
  • Egyptology
  • Ancient Egypt
  • Canopic
  • Histology
  • Mummy studies

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Egyptian Canopic Jars at the Crossroad of Medicine and Archaeology: Overview of 100 Years of Research and Future Scientific Expectations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this