Dakhleh oasis, egypt, histology, lung, liver, mummy, field technique
Use of paleohistology to identify histological structures in mummified tissues can allow insight into pathological conditions such as parasites, cirrhosis and lung scarring. However, increasing concerns in archaeological sciences include restrictions on removal of human remains from their site of origin for scientific study. In the case of mummified remains, the use of a field paleohistology kit may be deemed useful for ‘point-of-care’ pathological assessment of preserved tissues. This study evaluates field paleohistology protocols for mummified soft tissue based on techniques used modern medical field missions. The application of this technique alleviates the need for export or removal of remains from the site for analysis. Samples from the Kellis 1 Cemetery (c. 60BC – AD100) and Deir abu Metta Christian church (c. 4th century AD) in the Dakhleh Oasis, Egypt were processed using field paleohistology techniques in both a laboratory and field setting. Two processes of soft tissue preservation were identified in this sample; anthropogenic or ‘artificial’, and spontaneous or ‘natural’ mummification. In cases of artificial mummification, the use of resin, both on internal and external surfaces of the body, caused difficulty in the rehydration process and visualization of the cellular structures. In cases of natural mummification, the technique was more successful in rehydration, slide mounting, imaging, and detection of cellular structures. Results also showed some tissue samples to be unsuitable for this method due to variable preservation and loss of tissue integrity during processing (e.g., liver). However, consistent quality microscope slides and digital images were obtained from samples of skin, muscle, lung, and liver indicating this point-of-care field method is a viable option for paleohistological field analyses and identification of pathological conditions in mummified human remains.
Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Anthropology; Archaeological Investigation
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences, Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
Branson, Jennifer, "Evaluation Of A Field Histology Technique And Its Use In Histological Analyses Of Mummified Tissues From Dakhleh Oasis, Egypt" (2013). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2607.