Imagine working in a place for your entire life, being unaware that human remains rest nearby. It’s an unsettling thought, and even the stuff of nightmares. And, for those working at the University of Sydney, it actually happened. Thankfully, however, the people who made the discovery were archaeologists, and the human remains were exactly where you might expect to find them – in a sarcophagus.
But even if they were in a place expressly designated for human remains, the body parts were completely unknown to those in the university. And stumbling upon them was a rather big shock. After all, one doesn’t expect to find bits of other humans in a sarcophagus labelled as being empty!
The Mysterious Sarcophagus
The sarcophagus was purchased 160 years ago by one of the first founders of the Sydney University, Sir Charles Nicholson. But the sarcophagus was one of 408 other assorted Egyptian objects. As such, it probably did not get the full attention it deserved, and remained unopened. Since then the ancient coffin has sat gathering dust, with only the exterior examined in any detail.
Recently, however, the lid was finally lifted, and a collective gasp echoed around the room. There were human remains inside, undetected for 160 years. The sarcophagus had been listed as being empty, or simply containing debris, but not a single person had ever opened to check.
What To Do With The Unexpected Dead?
So, what is to be done when a person unexpectedly comes upon human remains? Especially ancient ones. Not a question many will have to answer in their life, but something the archaeologists at Sydney University had to ask themselves. As it turns out, a university is exactly the right place to find human remains, since there are many who know the right procedures.
Jamie Fraser, the senior curator, said that an enormous amount of work would have to go into properly handling the remains. According to him, the biggest concern is being respectful with what was once a person, even if thousands of years ago. But, prior to excavating the remains, a number of highly detailed images would be taken in order to record the findings.
The Draw of Ancient Egyptian Culture
Ancient Egyptian culture is a deeply fascinating topic for many, not in the least due to the enormous structures the Egyptians left behind. This culture can be seen in a number of other places too, such as in video games, movies, and in a number of games available at All Slots online casino. Cleopatra would no doubt be thrilled that she has survived the test of time, and now features in a popular slots game, as would Isis, the goddess who has become a symbol of wealth for many who enjoy spinning the reels!
Dead body embalming, however, is also among the most iconic things that ancient Egyptians did. Their habit of filling their dead with chemicals, and wrapping them in clothes is something that captures the imagination of modern people. And, of course, this same process also allows their dead to be found, relatively well preserved hundreds of years later.
Why the Egyptians did this is a much-discussed topic by historians, as is the enormous pyramids these bodies were placed in. And, ask the right people and everything from ancient aliens to intergalactic portals will be brought up. The ancient Egyptians may or may not have been in contact with aliens, but one thing is for certain; their interesting cultural habits have survived long beyond themselves, providing archaeologists with plenty to talk about.
The discovery of the mummy is just one of many fascinating finds in recent years, and there’s no doubt that those who are studying it now may uncover a few more secrets of a civilisation that’s always captured our imaginations.