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Mummies and Their Mysteries: Kings to Crocodiles to Eva Peron

All-Day Program

Saturday, October 28, 2017 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Code: 1H0279

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Golden mask of Tutankhamun (Egyptian Museum)

The practice of mummification dates back thousands of years. Its Egyptian developers were resurrectionsists who believed the body had to be preserved to live well in the afterlife. Egyptologist Bob Brier (also known as Mr. Mummy), discusses the history of mummies from ancient to modern times.

9:30–10:15 a.m.  How Did They Do That?

Brier discusses the techniques, processes, and beliefs behind the long lost-art of mummification as practiced by the ancient Egyptians—and what he learned about them through a very unique hands-on experience.

10:30–11:45 a.m.  Uncovering Buried Clues

Pharaoh Ramses III was murdered by a group of conspirators within his palace, one of whom might have been a courtier whose mummy came to be known as “Unknown Man E.” Brier recently rediscovered him in Cairo’s Egyptian Museum and discusses what his examination reveals about the royal plot. 

11:45 a.m.–12:15 p.m.  Mummies and the Movies 

From the 1932 classic The Mummy starring Boris Karloff to this summer’s Tom Cruise remake, mummies have been one of entertainment’s go-to horror themes. But where does Hollywood fiction stray from historical fact?  

12:15–1:15 p.m.  Lunch (Participants provide their own lunch.)

1:15–2 p.m.  Egypt’s Animal Mummies

Beneath the sands of Saqqara—called the City of the Dead—are more than a million mummified animals including, birds, cats, bulls, and other species. Farther south, the temple of Kom Ombo contains mummified crocodiles. Why and how were these animals preserved for eternity?

2:15–3:15 p.m.  King Tut

X-rays of the mummy of Tutankhamen gave rise to a murder theory. Brier discusses the results of his research on the subject, including an examination of the two fetuses found in Tutankhamen’s tomb. He also covers the most recent DNA research on this most famous of mummies.

3:15–4 p.m. Mummies in Modern Times

Mummification is not strictly an ancient practice. It continued to be used around the world, notably on the bodies of political deities Eva Peron and Vladimir Lenin.


S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)