Did Egyptian Mummification Descend from a More Ancient and, Perhaps, Reversible Preservation Technique?
A central concept in the novel The Sphinx Scrolls is whether a mummification technology has ever existed that could preserve someone for long periods and retain the potential to bring them back to life. The book introduces the hypothesis that Egyptian mummification took its inspiration from an older and more advanced system which had such capabilities. But how far-fetched is that idea?
Mummification in Ancient Egypt, despite its success at preserving human tissue over thousands of years, was essentially symbolic. Take away belief in their spiritual afterlife, and the mummification process was just a sophisticated version of taxidermy, designed to halt the decay of skin cells. Internal organs were disposed of, since there was no concoction of spices and salts able to penetrate deep enough to save them.
Kai-i-nefer mummy, Egypt, Late Period, 525-332 BCE. ( Public Domain )
But could Egyptian mummification have been a simplified, non-functioning version of a lost art of body preservation that had a real chance of reanimation? This notion only has credibility if it is first accepted that the Ancient Egyptians descended from a highly advanced antediluvian civilization, one that has since been lost to history. This controversial theory is based on numerous finds, curiosities and apparent anomalies supporting the tantalizing idea that instead of marking the zenith of mankind’s technological development, Egyptian achievements signaled the tail end of the decline of an even greater society.
Ancient Knowledge and Technology
In 1837 Egyptologist Colonel Howard Vyse blasted a hole in the Great Pyramid of Giza and discovered a section of iron sheet lodged between the inner blocks. Yet the pyramid was constructed two millennia before the Iron Age. Furthermore, a 1989 metallurgical analysis of that iron found traces of gold on its surface, suggesting it had been gold plated. This would have required knowledge of electricity.
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Other clues might also point to an understanding of electricity. The Hathor Temple at Dendera boasts stone reliefs depicting what some have interpreted as lightbulbs.
The Dendera Light ( CC BY-SA 3.0 )
Some researchers have further speculated that the absence of soot or burn marks from flame torches in some Egyptian tombs could indicate the use of a system of electric lighting. Then there are the drilled holes still to be found in the granite of the Great Pyramid and in many other sites, including stone quarries. Might these perfectly circular, deep holes have been cut using a tool that required electric power? What about the peculiar hieroglyphs in the Temple of Seti I at Abydos which appear to show a helicopter, a boat and an airplane?
The hieroglyphs in Temple of Seti I. ( Public Domain )
A single aberrant artifact can be explained as a coincidence or a modern misinterpretation. The helicopter carving, for instance, is believed to result from overlapping hieroglyphs following the re-use of the same stone. But faced with many other instances that appear to defy the established historical timeline, should we at least consider the possibility that Pharaonic Egypt represented humanity’s rediscovery of a fraction of what it once knew? After all, did the ability to construct the Great Pyramid of Giza with such scale and accuracy arrive relatively suddenly in a Bronze Age society, or did its builders use knowledge that had been preserved for generations?
The Great Sphinx of Giza might be thousands of years older than the pyramids. Some geologists who studied its weathering patterns have claimed it dates back to a time when the Giza plateau had a wet climate – several millennia before the pyramid builders. If this is true, it could support the lost civilization theory. Could the Pharaohs have descended from an advanced antediluvian civilization? Were Ancient Egyptians dimly aware of a past glory, of a time when their ancestors had the potential to ‘live forever’?
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If the theories about Egyptian technology being a remnant of something far older and greater are true, then could their mummification also be a watered down version of a prehistoric technique that used more complex chemistry? Did they practice a pale remembrance of a procedure that preserved cells throughout the body, not just the skin, and that may even have been reversible? If so, they retained only partial knowledge. They didn’t possess the full recipe to mummify their dead with any prospect of genuine reanimation.