Symposium 8: Mummies and textiles (Aug 11, 2016)

10-13 AUGUST 2016  

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Symposium 8: Mummies and textiles

Chairs: Jana Jones, Dong Hoon Shin, James M. Vreeland Jr. 
Time: 9:10 am - 3:30 pm
Ejecutivo II Room, 1st floor

Chaired by James Vreeland, Jr. 

(1) 9:10 James M. Vreeland, Jr.: Peruvian pre-Hispanic mummy bundles from the central coast: specialization in production techniques with naturally pigmented native cotton.

(5) 9:30 Ann H. Peters: Reconstructing mortuary traditions at the necropolis of Wari Kayan in early Nasca times: Established ritual and new practices. 

(6) 9:50 Milosz Giersz, Patrycja Przadka Giersz, Wieslaw Wieckowski, Krzysztof Makowski: Wari imperial funerary customs and rituals: pre-Hispanic necropolis at Castillo de Huarmey. 

(8) 10:10 Gioconda Arabel Fernández López: Gender, social status and power seen through the textiles of the bundle of the Lady of Cao. 

(9) 10:30 Patricia Landa Cragg: Types of textiles found in the late funerary bundles of the Peruvian central coast. 


Chaired by Dong Hoon Shin 

(3) 11:20 Dong Hoon Shin, Mi Kyung Song: Joseon textiles from Korean mummies. 

(4) 11:40 Roberta Cortopassi: Two Byzantine period mummies from Egypt in French museums.

(10) 11:40 Carter Lupton, Jonathan Elias, Sabina Malgora: Good things in small packages: differential inclusions and cloth replicas in Egyptian Mummies.  

(11) 12:00 Lidija M. McKnight: ‘Re-rolling’ a mummy: an experimental spectacle. 

(12) 12:20 Cinzia Oliva, Laure Cadot, Rosa Boano,  Matilde Borla: A lady from Deir el-Medina: a case study of multidisciplinary conservation program. 


12:40  LUNCH  


(1) Textiles associated with Peruvian prehispanic mummy bundles from the Central coast: specialization in production techniques with naturally pigmented native cotton

James M. Vreeland Jr.

Founding member, Patronato del Patrimonio de la Salud, Lima, Perú

The peculiar characteristics of the Peruvian central coast desert ensure an ideal environment for conserving both naturally and artificially mummified bodies. This paper summarizes for the first time research conducted in the 1970s at the Peruvian National Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology, on a half dozen prehispanic mummy bundles recovered from looted cemeteries along the central coast, between the Huaura Valley to the north and the Ica Valley to the south of Lima.
Initial direct and microscopic observations revealed unique information on the fibers employed, bundle construction methods, spinning and weaving techniques used. The unadorned, plain weave shrouds woven from naturally pigmented cotton fibers, required hundreds of kilometers of hand spun yarn. Special looms of an upright configuration of a very robust nature appear to have been used, very different from those associated with fine woven and decorative textiles, employing dyed yarns usually spun from of camelid fibers.
Ethnohistoric and ethnographic investigation of traditional textile manufacture in the Andes conducted by the author and an interdisciplinary team during the following decades, provides new information on which to propose reasonable reconstructions of the textile techniques and production methods presumably employed centuries earlier when the bundles were created and interred. The survival of naturally pigmented native cotton among hand spinners and weavers today may be associated with the ritual uses of the fiber in prehispanic times.
The unique nature of the plain weave mortuary shrouds implies the use of craft technologies of a very complex nature, resembling a kind of pre-industrial craft specialization in mortuary textile production. The hygroscopic properties of the native cotton fibers, loosely spun, suggest intentional fabric constructions to wick away the autolytic body decomposition fluids, propitiating a rapid intentional desication in an anaerobic environment not conducive to the reproduction of insect pests usually investing the bodies during the interment process. The scientific opening of additional bundles is needed to further elucidate the nature of specializations in the manufacture of mortuary shrouds not found in any other prehispanic context.

(5) Reconstructing mortuary traditions at the necropolis of Wari Kayan in early Nasca times: Established ritual and new practices.

Ann H. Peters
American Section, Penn Museum

Reconstructing mortuary traditions at the necropolis of Wari Kayan in early Nasca times: established ritual and new practices.
A cemetery area can include more than one mortuary tradition, as well as tombs from different historic periods. Comparisons in the structure and content of mortuary bundles in the Paracas Necropolis assemblage from the Wari Kayan cemetery areas indicates changes over time associated with different artifact styles. Burials associated with artifact assemblages related in style, technique and imagery to early Nasca are interspersed with earlier mortuary assemblages in both sectors A and B.  While most burials share key features of mortuary practice, significant changes in the artifact types included and in mortuary bundle construction are associated with the changes in artifact style.

Comparisons among mortuary contexts associated with artifacts in Nasca-related styles demonstrate regularities in practices of bundle construction as well as unusual forms and changes over time. Body arrangement and certain types of evidence for body preparation are also considered. Comparisons among textiles and other artifacts demonstrate several style groups, some of which appear to characterize polities on the northern margin of Nasca influence while others are closely linked to the core region.

(6) Wari imperial funerary customs and rituals: pre-Hispanic necropolis at Castillo de Huarmey.

Milosz Giersz (University of Warsaw), Patrycja Giersz-Przadka (University of Warsaw), Wieslaw Wieckowski (University of Warsaw), Krzysztof Makowski (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú)

The recent discovery of the Wari royal mausoleum with the first untouched Wari elite women’s tomb at the Peruvian site of Castillo de Huarmey, renowned for the findings of fine tapestries, sheds new light on imperial funerary customs and mortuary architecture during the second part of the first millennium AD. The main chamber concealed 64 individuals accompanied by the most intimate and valuable personal effects: gold and silver jewelry, polychrome ceramics, tools representing each step of the textile technological process and remains of fine textiles. Each elite individual was buried wrapped in a bundle, parts of which were occasionally preserved. Remains of additional multiple naturally mummified individuals were found within the mausoleum perimeter. The preservation varies due to the postdepositional processes. The chamber was a first stage in the construction of an architectonical complex of the royal mausoleum, which later became a center of the necropolis, consisting of chullpas mausoleums, platforms, passages between them, and stairways. The purpose of this paper is to describe the context of this unique discovery, with the special attention to the role of textiles, and explain sophisticated funerary customs, and rituals in relation to the funerary architecture that served as the physical focus of Wari’s ancestor worship. Using a broad methodological spectrum, including bioarchaeological and biogeochemical analyses, archaeometry, 3D HDS scanning and architectural analysis, the Authors show how the new pan-Andean Wari funerary paradigm helped to facilitate inter-group relationships and new identities established and negotiated by imperial elites.  

(8) Gender, social status and power seen through the textiles of the bundle of “La Dama de Cao”

Arabel Fernández López
PACEB - Museo Cao (Fundación Augusto N. Wiese)

After the discovery of a very important Moche culture funerary bundle on the upper platform of “Huaca Cao Viejo” in “El Brujo” archaeological complex and due to the exceptional condition in which it was found, it was possible to make a detailed record of its conformation through their respective openings. The funerary bundle was wrapped with several layers of textiles, including many emblematic objects. Inside, was found a body of a young woman with extremely well preserved symbolic tattoos on her face, arms and feet. Both the place in which she was buried as the symbols of power and social status associated with her body, allowed us to propose that she was a woman with a crucial political, social and religious role in Moche society. Today she is known as “La Dama de Cao”
According to our investigation, the textiles of the “Dama de Cao” bundle were manufactured specifically for mortuary purposes, others were part of the dress and others had symbolic purposes. In this document, I will describe the funerary bundle opening, especially the technical and structural characteristics of the textiles with its economic and social implications. Furthermore, I will describe the funerary offerings as textile instruments and raw materials. Finally, with the supporting evidence we are going to develop the relationship between the textile profession, gender and power.

(9) Types of textiles found in the late funerary bundles of the peruvian central coast

Landa Cragg 
Conservadora independiente

Textiles in ancient Peru were specially valued; used as symbol of power they kept their importance even after the death of the individuals that owned them. They are especially important in the construction of funerary bundles as they constitute more than 80% of the elements that form the funerary package.
Textiles of 29 funerary bundles (20 adults and 9 children) from five sites of the Peruvian Central Coast (especially from the Late Periods of the Rimac and Lurin Valleys) where analyzed and compared. The variables used included position relative to the body, fibers (type, twist, width), textile techniques and evidence of use.
From our analysis we can distinguish three groups of textiles:
1) Funerary textiles, specially made to be part of the bundle layers
2) Reused textiles, textiles that show evidence of previous use and that have been transformed to be part of the bundle
3) Textiles specially made to be part of the funerary offerings of the individual
This study shows that funerary contexts (besides helping us to determine identity) give information about the recurrence in the use of certain textiles. The identification of these recurring textiles can help us to understand funerary contexts even if we deal with groups of disturbed textiles.

(3) Joseon Textiles from Korean Mummies 

Dong Hoon Shin & Mi Kyung Song 
Institute of Forensic Science, Seoul National University College of Medicine, South Korea 
Department of Clothing Science, Seoul Women’s University, Seoul, South Korea

Mummies from the Joseon Dynasty (AD 1392-1910) are an invaluable subject for scientific studies on the health and diseases of pre-modern Korean people. However, for the past several decades textile investigation has also become an important part of mummy studies in South Korea, as both clothing and mummies are discovered simultaneously in the same Joseon tombs. Whenever archaeologists examined the Korean mummies, they discovered perfectly preserved, magnificent centuries-old textiles and garments. Since the first archaeological report on the clothing from the Joseon tomb discovered in 1964, the resultant documentation has grown into one of the most impressive academic collections in the cultural heritage of South Korea. Removal of the clothing was undertaken under strict, sterile laboratory conditions and each step documented since 2006. By studying these cases, scholars can trace detailed changes in the fashion of Joseon clothing that otherwise might not have been revealed to modern observers. Based upon the acquired data, the clothing currently displayed in museums and institutes could be repaired successfully and maintained meticulously. In this paper, we will present a scholarly reconstruction of a vivid glimpse into the lives and funerary rites of the Joseon Dynasty elite, based on examination of the academic works of the textile historians.

(4) Two Byzantine Period mummies from Egypt in French museums

Roberta Cortopassi 

Conservateur du patrimoine, la filière Arts décoratifs département Restauration C2RMF, Paris, France

The French archaeologist Albert Gayet excavated the Roman-Byzantine city of Antinoopoulis in Middle Egypt from 1895 to 1911. He sent back to France a huge amount of artefacts, ceramics, woods, textiles and some burials. The material was first presented to the public in temporary exhibitions in Paris and then dispersed among French and European museums or private collections.
Approximately thirty complete mummies are still kept in museum collections in France. Those dating to the Roman period were prepared according to Pharaonic tradition. Some are wrapped in painted shrouds typical of the production of the city; others have a painted portrait on a wooden panel laid over the face, the so-called ‘Fayum portraits’. 
The mummies that date to the Byzantine period are fully dressed in everyday clothes and have undergone mummification by natural means, without any human intervention. A team of specialists studied two of these female burials in detail.  Analyses included radiocarbon dating (giving a date of 6th-7th century AD) and CT scanning. This paper will focus on the study of clothing and other textiles from the burials.

(10) Good Things in Small Packages: Differential Inclusions and Cloth Replicas in Egyptian Mummies

Lupton, Jonathan Elias & Sabina Malgora 
Milwaukee Public Museum | Akhmim Mummy Studies Consortium | Mummy Project - Milan

In a series of CT projects on Egyptian mummies of several different periods, medium density inclusions of textile matter have been identified.  Differential inclusion (DI) is proposed as an analytical term to describe these objects to distinguish them from the wrappings which surround them. Their presence reflects behavior which is deliberate, patterned, and ritually expressive.  Despite their rather clear boundaries, such inclusions are frequently overlooked.
Some differential inclusions have distinctive globular shapes found individually or in groups within the bandages, and sometimes within visceral packets. Other DIs belong to rather elaborate constructions of fabric and fibrous cordage. In many cases, they are detectable in axial, sagittal and coronal CT image aspects as if they were carefully positioned. In some cases they can be characterized as ritual accoutrements (amuletic wrapping features) placed on the body at a critical point in the wrapping process. In this way they are sandwiched within the textile layers comprising the mummy bundle. The existence of such accoutrements (and their relationship to amulets) was noted by Andrzej Niwinski during the disassembly of a damaged mummy from the northern Middle Egypt site of el-Gamhud, (Archeological Museum in Cracow). He felt that these objects, which he termed “cloth replicas” in a 1998 article, were rather atypical. Here we present CT evidence of similar objects on the legs of the Saite Period mummy of Djed-hor  (Milwaukee Public Museum  10264). We examine the occurrence of other inclusions in mummies of different periods from the Fayum, Akhmim, and Thebes.  We further suggest that the frequency of cloth replicas, amuletic wrapping features, and other differential inclusions is greater than Niwinski originally suspected, and propose a methodology to aid in their identification.

(11) ‘Re-rolling’ a mummy: an experimental spectacle

M. McKnight 
University of Manchester

The use of textiles as wrapping materials in ancient Egypt was a fundamental element in the ritual transformation of preserved human and animal bodies. Textiles, namely linen, effectively concealed the contents of mummy bundles and disguised the nature of bronze and stone statuettes, making them capable of crossing the boundary between earthly life and the divine. Many artefacts received a complex wrapping treatment with elaborate decoration visible by eye. The application of CT (computed tomography) to wrapped mummy bundles has yielded a wealth of information on the internal construction methods employed.
Due to the nature of early excavation and recording techniques, many artefacts were unwrapped on site, losing much of their original context. In addition, the unwrapping of human mummies became a popular pastime for socialites and philanthropists during the nineteenth-century when numerous reported mummy ‘un-rollings’ were performed.
Current research conducted for the Ancient Egyptian Animal Bio Bank project sought to address the question ‘how easy (or difficult) is it to wrap a mummy?’ The project combines experimental mummification of bird cadavers with evidence obtained from the radiographic study of ancient mummies to suggest how the ancient embalmers might have operated. Attempts at corporeal preservation continue to be largely successful despite the climatic variations between Egypt and Manchester and efforts have now been directed towards the replication of wrapping techniques. Combining the expertise of textile specialists, conservators and artists, a public mummy ‘re-rolling’ was held at Manchester Museum marking the anniversary of the unwrapping of Mummy 1770 some forty years earlier.

(12) A lady from Deir el-Medina (west bank of Thebes-Egypt): case study of a multidisciplinary conservation program.

Cinzia Oliva, textile conservator, Turin
Laure Cadot, Conservation-restauration d’objets ethnographiques et archéologie égyptienne, Montpellier
RosaBoano, Anthropologist, Università degli Studi di Torino, Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e Biologia dei Sistemi 
Matilde Borla, Egyptologist, Soprintendenza per l’Archeologia del Piemonte

The conservation treatment carried out on the mummy and coffin S. 7715 (XXI Dynasty 990-970 BC) is part of the conservation program launched by the Fondazione Museo delle Antichità Egizie di Torino for the new Museo Egizio. According to ICOM code of ethics all the conservation treatments were based on the “minimal treatment” principle.
The mummy was in a very advanced state of decay, of both the fibers in the bandages and shrouds and in the anatomical structure of the body. The weakening of the fibers allowed the partial protrusion of bones and organic material, which in turn compromised the general structure of the mummy. A hole in the front of the head exposed the skull.  X-rays showed a very dismantled skeleton, especially in the thoracic area. 
In order to check the back of the mummy, the body was turned over using a special tailor-made shell (made by Marco Samadelli, European Academy/Bolzano). Cadot then proceeded with the conservation of human remains: all the bones of the skull, thoracic cavity and pelvis were removed and documented. Then the reconstruction of the skull as well as the thoracic bones was carried out. These were reorganized into their anatomical position on a conservation support and replaced in the cavity. Internal supports were built to fill gaps and reconstruct the original shape of the body. Once the textile wrappings on the back were replaced, the mummy was turned over to the front. It was then wrapped in a net that had been dyed to match the color underneath, and attached with linen ribbons. 
Anthropological examination was carried out in order to assess age at death and sex. Direct observations, supported by radiological images, showed that the body belonged to a young woman aged 20 to 30 years.


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