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The importance of the nasopharynx and anterior skull base in excerebration techniques from KV40, a New Kingdom Egyptian site


Seiler, Roger; Eppenberger, Patrick; Bickel, Susanne; Rühli, Frank (2022). The importance of the nasopharynx and anterior skull base in excerebration techniques from KV40, a New Kingdom Egyptian site. The anatomical record, 305(8):1938-1946.

Abstract

In ancient Egypt, a unique technique for removing the brain was invented as part of the mummification practice and refined over the centuries. This usually involved piercing the anterior skull base through a nasal passage to remove the brain remnants through that perforation. From 2010 to 2018, an interdisciplinary team of the Universities of Basel and Zurich investigated tomb no. 40 (KV40) in the Valley of the Kings, Luxor, Egypt. Archaeological findings indicate a first burial phase during the mid-18th Dynasty (ca. 1400-1350 BCE) and a second in the 22nd to 25th Dynasty (approx. 900-700 BCE). Repeated looting since ancient times severely damaged and commingled the human remains of the two burial phases. The detailed examination of the skulls showed evidence of different transnasal craniotomy practices. This study aims to provide a systematic presentation of the evidence for different excerebration techniques found in the mummy heads, skulls, and skull fragments from KV40, reflecting the long period of occupancy of this tomb by individuals of different social classes.

Abstract

In ancient Egypt, a unique technique for removing the brain was invented as part of the mummification practice and refined over the centuries. This usually involved piercing the anterior skull base through a nasal passage to remove the brain remnants through that perforation. From 2010 to 2018, an interdisciplinary team of the Universities of Basel and Zurich investigated tomb no. 40 (KV40) in the Valley of the Kings, Luxor, Egypt. Archaeological findings indicate a first burial phase during the mid-18th Dynasty (ca. 1400-1350 BCE) and a second in the 22nd to 25th Dynasty (approx. 900-700 BCE). Repeated looting since ancient times severely damaged and commingled the human remains of the two burial phases. The detailed examination of the skulls showed evidence of different transnasal craniotomy practices. This study aims to provide a systematic presentation of the evidence for different excerebration techniques found in the mummy heads, skulls, and skull fragments from KV40, reflecting the long period of occupancy of this tomb by individuals of different social classes.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Evolutionary Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Biotechnology
Health Sciences > Anatomy
Life Sciences > Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Health Sciences > Histology
Language:English
Date:1 August 2022
Deposited On:01 Feb 2022 16:33
Last Modified:18 Jun 2024 03:35
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:1932-8486
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/ar.24828
PubMed ID:34837472
  • Content: Published Version
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)