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B rother Gregory has been
asked to investigate
the death of the
pharaoh Horemheb.

He wants you to help.

T he Natural History Society at Brno has been given the mummy of the Pharaoh Horemheb.

Some people think that the mummy is cursed, and so they have asked Brother Gregory to investigate how and why the Pharaoh died. He wants you to be his research assistant and help him solve the mystery.

To do this you will take samples from different parts of the mummy and examine the physical properties of the specimen you find. From your findings you may be able to decide what (if anything) killed the ancient Pharaoh.

But beware, this mummy could be cursed by Amun, one of the gods of the Egyptians, and your results may mislead you.

Location of the Specimens ------------------------

Nature of the Specimens ------------------------
Canopic Jars Before the Egyptican priests prepared a Pharaoh's body for mummification, they first removed the intestines and the brain, and placed them in special canopic jars.

These specimens were found in the stomach, and were part of the last meal the Pharaoh ate before he died. Was this a normal meal, or was he poisoned?

The Head All water was removed from the skin and bones of the Pharaoh's body by placing it in contact with natron, a substance that absorbs the excess water. The dehydrated body was then wrapped in bandages and possibly treated with other substances.

This specimen was taken from what looked like the hairs or skin on the mummy's head, but can you be sure?

The Body After carefully unwrapping small parts of the mummy, you used moist swabs to remove a small amount of what was once growing on the skin of the Pharaoh when he was alive.

These specimens consist of surface growing micro-organisms. Many of them will be of the kind found growing on the skin of healthy humans, but some others can be killers. Which have you found?

The Bandages While they were wrapping the dehydrated body in bandages, the Egyptian priests often included other objects, such as jewelry, between the many layers of cloth. Most of these objects were placed there for religious reasons, but other objects could be trapped there as well, either by accident or because it was a good hiding place.

These specimens were found between the bandages. Many of them will be harmless, but if the priests also killed the Pharaoh, they might have left clues. What have you found?

The Investigations - Using modern technology you can now investigate the properties of the macromolecules found in all the different samples take from Horemheb's mummy.

From your findings, you may be able to find his killer (if any!).

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Science@a Distance
© 2001, Professor John Blamire