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  • Reference work
  • © 2021

The Handbook of Mummy Studies

New Frontiers in Scientific and Cultural Perspectives

  • Offers cutting-edge models revealing the secrets of mummies

  • Sheds new light on the history and funerary beliefs

  • Presents interdisciplinary and international insights relevant to researchers and students in related fields

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eBook USD 449.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-981-15-3354-9
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Hardcover Book USD 449.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

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Table of contents (50 entries)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xxv
  2. General Aspect of Mummy Studies

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 1-1
    2. History of Mummy Studies

      • Jane E. Buikstra, Kenneth C. Nystrom
      Pages 3-39
    3. Ethical Considerations of Anthropologists’ Fieldwork

      • Katherine I. Placher, Christopher J. Bae
      Pages 89-109
    4. Radiological and Ethical Considerations of Autopsy in Mummy Study

      • Yi-Suk Kim, Myeung Ju Kim, Chang Seok Oh, Jong Ha Hong, Dong Hoon Shin
      Pages 111-130
    5. Paleo-Oncology and Mummies

      • Andreas G. Nerlich, Raffaella Bianucci
      Pages 131-146
    6. The Burden of Arteriosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease in Ancient Populations

      • Andreas G. Nerlich, Francesco Maria Galassi, Raffaella Bianucci
      Pages 147-162
  3. Research Techniques of Mummy Studies

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 163-163
    2. Craniofacial Reconstruction in Mummy Studies

      • Won Joon Lee, Dong Hoon Shin
      Pages 165-178
    3. Endoscopy in Mummy Studies

      • Mark Spigelman, Dong Hoon Shin
      Pages 179-196
    4. Radiology Applications in Mummy Science

      • Ronald G. Beckett, Gerald J. Conlogue
      Pages 211-251
    5. Medical Imaging in Mummy Studies

      • Robert D. Loynes, Raffaella Bianucci
      Pages 253-268
  4. Ancient DNA Analysis and Mummy Research

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 269-269
    2. History of Ancient DNA Analysis in Mummy Research

      • Jong Ha Hong, Chang Seok Oh, Dong Hoon Shin
      Pages 271-284
    3. Current Trends in Ancient DNA Study

      • Choongwon Jeong
      Pages 285-300
    4. Ancient DNA Study

      • Choongwon Jeong
      Pages 301-315
    5. Ancient DNA and Paleoparasitology in Brazil

      • Alena Mayo Iñiguez
      Pages 317-349

About this book

Owing to their unique state of preservation, mummies provide us with significant historical and scientific knowledge of humankind’s past. This handbook, written by prominent international experts in mummy studies, offers readers a comprehensive guide to new understandings of the field’s most recent trends and developments. It provides invaluable information on the health states and pathologies of historic populations and civilizations, as well as their socio-cultural and religious characteristics. Addressing the developments in mummy studies that have taken place over the past two decades – which have been neglected for as long a time – the authors excavate the ground-breaking research that has transformed scientific and cultural knowledge of our ancient predecessors. The handbook investigates the many new biotechnological tools that are routinely applied in mummy studies, ranging from morphological inspection and endoscopy to minimally invasive radiological techniques that are used to assess states of preservation. It also looks at the paleoparasitological and pathological approaches that have been employed to reconstruct the lifestyles and pathologic conditions of ancient populations, and considers the techniques that have been applied to enhance biomedical knowledge, such as craniofacial reconstruction, chemical analysis, stable isotope analysis and ancient DNA analysis. This interdisciplinary handbook will appeal to academics in historical, anthropological, archaeological and biological sciences, and will serve as an indispensable companion to researchers and students interested in worldwide mummy studies.


  • Global Mummy Studies
  • Mummification Processes
  • Ancient Metagenomes
  • Mummy Conservation
  • Embalming Techniques
  • Endoscopy and Autopsy
  • Paleopathology
  • Post-mortem degradation
  • Egyptian Mummies
  • Mummies in Catacombs and Crypts
  • Bog bodies
  • Museology of Mummies
  • Mummies in East Asia
  • Arctic and Subarctic Mummies
  • Chinchorro mummies
  • Guanche Mummies
  • Parasitology


‘The Handbook of Mummy Studies represents the most up-to-date book on the mummies of the world published in recent decades. Not only does it explore the technical and ethical issues with precision, providing new insights into the scientific methodologies, and thus presenting itself as an efficacious tool in teaching, but it is also an excellent medium to explore the most intimate manifestation of memory in a constant attempt to overcome death.’

Luca Sìneo in American Journal of Biological Anthropology, 2022


Editors and Affiliations

  • Laboratory of Bioanthropology, Paleopathology and History of Diseases, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Institute of Forensic and Anthropological Science, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea (Republic of)

    Dong Hoon Shin

  • New Mexico Health Enhancement and Marathon Clinics Research Foundation, Albuquerque, USA

    Raffaella Bianucci

About the editors

Dong Hoon Shin graduated from Seoul National University College of Medicine in South Korea and received his certification of geriatrician. After serving as a public physician for three years, he earned his Ph.D. in Anatomy. He currently teaches and researches as a full professor and chairperson in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at Seoul National University. Over the years, his research interests have mainly focused on acquiring scientific information on premodern peoples’ health and disease status. Using research techniques and tools ranging from the anatomical and histological to the molecular, he has worked to reveal the physical and/or pathological traits of ancient peoples and their patterns at different historical stages. He has conducted viral, bacterial, and helminthic pathogen investigations with archaeologically obtained human remains such as Korean mummies. These have afforded vivid glimpses of premodern peoples’ health and disease status and, thus, of their actual lives, in significant detail from both medical and sociocultural perspectives. To enrich his understanding of human diseases of the past, he is also actively joining in fieldwork at archaeological sites outside South Korea. Currently, they include the Indus Valley Civilization ruins of presentday India and the permafrost burial grounds of West Siberia. Based on his academic achievements, he was inducted as a National Geographic Explorer and Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow

Raffaella Bianucci has specialized in biological anthropology, palaeopathology, and medical history with an emphasis on reconstructing the impact of historical plague pandemics in Europe between the sixth and eighteenth centuries. She is known for her pioneering work on the identification of Yersinia pestis F1 protein in ancient skeletal remains. Her researches have contributed significant insights into the systematic identification of putative plague victims uncovered from several plague pits scattered around Europe. She currently is investigating the historical impact of plague on Medieval populations and the biological role of rats and rat fleas in the interhuman transmission of the infection. As a palaeopathologist, her research has focused on the reconstruction of illnesses of several members of important families in Renaissance Italy (the Medici and the Aragonese). By applying the most advanced techniques in medicine and biochemistry, she is investigating the cause of death and the embalming techniques used to preserve ancient Egyptian mummies. Currently she is the group leader of a multidisciplinary project on Spanish church mummies from Quinto (Zaragoza) and on bog bodies from the Netherlands. From 2015, she has specialized in Medical Humanities. Together with Prof. Francesco Maria Galassi (Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia), she has introduced in Italy a new branch of investigation, namely palaeopathography, in classical palaeopathology. Palaeopathography encompasses both the philological and clinical analysis of ancient documental sources and archives and the clinical investigation of ancient works of art with the purpose of identifying the historical presentation and evolution of diseases throughout history. She has published numerous peer-reviewed articles in leading scientific journals such as Nature Communications, The Lancet, The Lancet Oncology, The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, The Lancet Neurology, The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, the American Journal of Medicine, Chest, the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, the Journal of Archaeological Science, PlOS Pathogens, and PlOS ONE. Currently, she is the coeditor and author of a book on Art and Medicine in the xvi About the Editors Uffizi Gallery (Pontercoboli Editore) which will be published in December 2021. Raffaella Bianucci is Vice President of the New Mexico Health Enhancement and Marathon Clinics Research Foundation, Albuquerque (NM, USA) and Honorary Research fellow at Warwick Medical School, Biomedical Sciences, The University of Warwick (UK). She gained her Ph.D. at the University of Florence and completed her postdoctoral training at the universities of Turin (Italy) and Oslo (Norway).

Bibliographic Information

Buying options

eBook USD 449.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-981-15-3354-9
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Hardcover Book USD 449.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)