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Radiocarbon Dating of a Series of the Heads of Egyptian Mummies from the Musée des Confluences, Lyon (France)

  • Pascale Richardin (a1), Annie Perraud (a2), Jasmine Hertzog (a1) (a3), Karine Madrigal (a4) and Didier Berthet (a5)...

As part of a multidisciplinary project concerning the practices of mummification in ancient Egypt, we studied a series of 33 human remains, collected during the late 19th century. These heads of human mummies belong to the Osteology collection from the Musée des Confluences of Lyon. One of the important issues of this research project was to establish a chronology of the mummification processes. However, the lack of archaeological data and excavation reports does not allow the dating of the specimens. Thus, during this project, these heads have been radiocarbon dated in order to place the individuals in a reliable chronological and cultural framework. As a result, 20 samples of hair and 13 samples of linen textiles of the wrappings have been taken. The results raised a lot of uncertainties about the chronology of these mummies and the need to validate or correct the original date attributions were given by the discoverers. As an example, among the 13 mummies thought to be dated between the 11th and 20th Dynasties, none appears from this period. In the same way, six mummies were originally dated from the Ptolemaic period. However, only one belongs to this period, four are Roman, and the last one is from the New Kingdom.

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Selected Papers from the 2015 Radiocarbon Conference, Dakar, Senegal, 16–20 November 2015

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