So the intern at NMHM..I can’t remember her name now but she looked like a Kate. So, Kate was pretty awesome and interesting to talk to. She knew a crap load about Egyptian artifacts; especially mummies.
This reminds me real quick of the Office episode where Kevin believes that mummies are a figment of our Halloween imaginations and they were fictionally created to scare him. Robert had to tell him that they weren’t a myth. www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wlwTraqWqs
First, she showed me an Egyptian mummy head, which had exceptionally well preserved mummified skin. Kind of like this:
Well this is King Tut’s mummified skull so it’s different from the one Kate showed me at the NMHM. The eye orbits were not exposed on the NMHM skull, the eyelids were shut and the eye lashes were still intact. The skull was mounted on a stand so that you could see eye to eye(lid) with the 3,000 year old mummy. The skin appeared black, leathery, and layed over the facial bones as if the skull was sculpted, giving the individual distinct facial characteristics. (I used King Tut here because I couldn’t find a better photo)
Next, Kate showed me a Peruvian mummy skull, which was even more beautiful than the Egyptian skull. It had magnificent curley dark brown hair that looked like a wig. Curly Peruvian hair. It wasn’t nappy, just perfect curls laid flat. It wasn’t a wig, well not exactly. During the mummification process the hair can be preserved so it doesn’t fall out. So, I guess it’s a wig now but it’s a wig of this individual’s own hair. Some people say that the hair needs to be taken off and chemicals need to be added before placing back onto the skull so the hair doesn’t straighten and change a lighter color.
Below is a Nubian Mummy, this individual has a different type of hair than Egyptians..
I think this one is amazing. The type of hair is characteristic of indigenous people of Africa. The facial features are also indicative of African ancestry, the alveolar prognathism in particular. You can tell the difference between this Nubian skull and a European skull easily!
Also, the eyebrows are nicely preserved on this skull too..and there is clothing 🙂
The third kind of “skull” I saw was a shrunken head. They exist! You can actually make one at home if you want, just boil.
Imagine wearing one of these Tsansa shrunken heads around your neck. Ick.
This article states that there is DNA evidence to prove that shrunken heads are not just folklore. http://news.discovery.com/history/head-hunting-dna-analysis-110614.html
More scientific reading about Egyptian mummy skulls (using CT scans):