We report on the morphological and trace element findings of several internal organs from an Egyptian mummy approximately dating from the year 950 B.C. according to 14C-analysis. By use of a multidisciplinary approach we succeeded in discovering evidence for severe and presumably recurrent pulmonary bleeding during life. This was suggested by the finding of massive haemosiderin deposits in the lung and a selectively and markedly elevated level of iron in trace element analysis of the lung tissue. Furthermore, we observed an enhanced deposition of birefringent particles in the lung tissue, without significant fibrosis. The histological analysis of liver, stomach and intestine confirmed the macroscopic organ diagnoses without evidence of any major pathological processes. In addition, analysis for various drugs revealed a significant deposition of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), nicotine and cocaine in several organs of the mummy. The concentration profiles additionally provide evidence for a preferential inhalation of THC, while nicotine and cocaine containing drugs seem to have been consumed orally.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Balabanova S, Parsche F, Pirsig W (1992) First identification of drugs in Egyptian mummies. Naturwissenschaften 8:358
Bar-Ziv J, Goldberg GM (1974) Simple siliceous pneumoconiosis in Negev bedouins. Arch Env Health 29:121–126
Böck P (1989) Mikroskopische Technik. Urban and Schwarzenberg. Munich, pp 399–400
Cockburn A, Barraco RA, Reyman TA, Peck WH (1975) Autopsy of an Egyptian mummy. Science 187:1155–1160
Cockburn A, Cockburn E (1980) Mummies, disease, and ancient culture. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 65–66, 77–80, 260
Domino EF, Hornbach E, Demana T (1983) The nicotine content of common vegetables. N Engl J Med 329:437
Grapow H (1958) Medizin der Alten Ägypter/IV/1. Akademie Verlag, Berlin, pp 151–152
Parsche F, Ziegelmayer G (1985) Munich Mummy Project — New results. In: Schoske S (ed) Akten des 4, Int. Ägyptologenkongresses. Helmut Buske Verlag, Hamburg, pp 287–299
Parsche F, Willershausen-Zönnchen B, Hamm G (1991) Spurenelementenuntersuchungen an Zahnsteinen von Individuen historischer Populationen. Dtsch Zahn-Mund-Kieferheilkd 79:219–223
Parsche F, Balabanova S, Pirsig W (1993) Drugs in ancient populations. Lancet 341:503
Parsche F (1993) Drugs in ancient populations (author's reply) Lancet 341:1157
Parsche F, Nerlich A (1995) Presence of drugs in different tissues of an Egyptian mummy. Fresenius J Anal Chem 352:380–384
Policart A, Collet A (1952) Deposition of siliceous dust in the lungs of the inhabitants of the Saharan regions. Arch Ind Hyg Occup Med 5:527–534
Ruffer MA (1921) Histologic studies in Egyptian mummies. In: Moodie RL (ed) Paleopathology in Egypt. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp 49–61
Smith EG, Dawson WR (1924) Egyptian mummies. George Allen and Unwin, London
Tapp E, Curry A, Anfield C (1975) Sand pneumoconiosis in an Egyptian mummy. Br Med J 2:276
Tapp E (1979) Disease in the Manchester mummies. In: David AR (ed) Manchester museum mummy project. Manchester University Press, Manchester, pp 95–102
Tapp E (1986) Histology and histopathology of the Manchester Mummies. In: David RA (ed) Science in egyptology. Manchester University Press, Manchester, pp 347–350
Zimmerman MR (1979) Pulmonary and osseous tuberculosis in an Egyptian mummy. Bull NY Acad Med 55:604–608
This manuscript is dedicated to Prof. Dr. M. Eder on the occasion on his 70th birthday
About this article
Cite this article
Nerlich, A.G., Wiest, I., Löhrs, U. et al. Extensive pulmonary haemorrhage in an Egyptian mummy. Vichows Archiv A Pathol Anat 427, 423–429 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00199392
- Pulmonary haemorrhage