Maintaining Global Mummies; Plus, Reshaping Waistlines

Beyond the pharaohs, an amazing look at mummies and mummification around the world. Plus, we look at body-shaping techniques with the Wall Street Journal’s Melinda Beck.

Villagers from Koke village in Papua New Guinea carry Moimango, mummified half a century ago, up to his cliff-niche perch. His son (crouching) hopes to be mummified someday too. Mummies are a daily part of the living culture in Koke. Photo by Ulla Lohmann, courtesy National Geographic.

When think mummies, we think Egypt. But there’s more than one way to make a mummy – and more that one culture that’s done it. 

It’s with salt in Egypt, but high dry air in the Incan Andes, and smoke in Papua New Guinea. Never mind Lenin’s tomb in Moscow, Mao’s mausoleum in Beijing, and outliers all over. 

Bioanthropologist Ron Beckett has been called the “mummy whisperer.” He’s tracked human ways with death and the body all over the world. He’s with us. 

We look at the urge to preserve the remains — death rituals and mummies, worldwide.

-Tom Ashbrook


Ronald Beckett, bioanthropologist and mummy scientist. He’s professor emeritus of biomedical sciences and founder of the Bioanthropology Research Institute at Quinnipiac University. You can read the his recent article in National Geographic.

Closing segment:

Guest: Melinda Beck, health columnist for the Wall Street Journal. Read her recent article “How Fat-Blasting Devices Work” and see the video where she explains it all.


Check out National Geographic‘s September issue focusing on Egyptian mummies. You can see a slideshow of images.

Famed Egyptologist Zahi Hawass writes the lead article. He begins as follows:

“Mummies capture our imaginations and our hearts. Full of secrets and magic, they were once people who lived and loved, just as we do today. I believe we should honor these ancient dead and let them rest in peace. There are some secrets of the pharaohs, however, that can be revealed only by studying their mummies.”

Read the full article. And look back at National Geographic‘s “mummy archives.”

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Nov 25, 2015
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