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Earthly Remains: The History and Science of Preserved Human Bodies
     

Earthly Remains: The History and Science of Preserved Human Bodies

by Michael Parker Pearson, Andrew T. Chamberlain
 

The preserved remains of other human beings hold a special fascination for the living. Earthly Remains explores the history and science behind such phenomena and examine cases ranging from ancient Egyptian mummies to twentieth-century politicians, from Iron Age bog bodies to cryonics and modern preservation techniques. After explaining the scientific processes of

Overview

The preserved remains of other human beings hold a special fascination for the living. Earthly Remains explores the history and science behind such phenomena and examine cases ranging from ancient Egyptian mummies to twentieth-century politicians, from Iron Age bog bodies to cryonics and modern preservation techniques. After explaining the scientific processes of decay, the authors move on to discuss the bog bodies of northern Europe, including the famous Lindow Man and several Danish examples, many of which were found mutilated or handicapped. The authors then turn their attention to one of the oldest methods of preservation-mummification-looking not only at famous ancient Egyptian examples, but also at the earliest known mummies of the Chinchorro people from South America. The preservation of bodies as a result of environmental factors such as freezing is also addressed, and the painstaking scientific processes involved in unearthing and interpreting finds such as those at Pompeii and Sutton Hoo is described.
Finally, this study would not be complete without a look at modern preservation methods and humanity's perennial search for immortality through techniques such as cryonics, cloning, DNA and suspended animation. Extensively illustrated with haunting images gathered from the collections of cultural institutions around the world, such as the British Museum, Earthly Remains is a compelling book that will appeal to everyone's sense of mystery in the history and origins of our ancestors.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Adult/High School-A fascinating look at the different ways and reasons that various cultures have preserved human remains over time. Each chapter discusses one type of preservation and possible motivations behind this protection of the dead. Different types include peat-bog bodies, mummification, frozen bodies, and body impressions or negatives left in soil or ash. Chamberlain and Pearson describe a variety of different cultures for each of the types of preservation, although there is an Anglo-European emphasis. This book has an adequate index and an extensive bibliography. The illustrations provide good visual examples for the text and include a section of color plates. It is interesting that the addition of color makes these pictures appear more graphic. The authors cover a sensitive topic with scientific precision and honesty.-Tracy Ansley, formerly at Cary Academy, NC Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195218527
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
02/01/1902
Pages:
216
Product dimensions:
9.50(w) x 7.20(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Andrew T. Chamberlain is Senior Lecturer in Biological Anthropology at the University of Sheffield. He is the author of Human Remains in the Interpreting the Past series. Michael Parker Pearson is Reader in Archaeology at the University of Sheffield and a specialist in funerary archaeology. His publications include Bronze Age Britain and The Archaeology of Death and Burial

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