The turkeys we’ll be sitting down to eat on Thursday have a history that goes way back. Archaeologists have unearthed a clutch of domesticated turkey eggs used as a ritual offering 1,500 years ago in Oaxaca, Mexico—some of the earliest evidence of turkey domestication. Read more about Archaeological Excavation Unearths Evidence of Turkey Domestication 1,500 Years Ago
Blogs & Videos: Archaeology
Artificial cranial deformation, or head binding, is a practice carried out by cultures all over the world, and throughout time. Dr. Robert Martin talked to us about how the tradition was implemented by figures of high status in Ancient Egypt. Read more about Why did King Tut have a flat head?
There’s a lot to see in The Field Museum’s Evolving Planet exhibition—a rock bearing traces of life from a billion years ago, a seventy-two-foot-long Apatosaurus, a towering prehistoric giant sloth. But two new displays in the section on human evolution have been literally stopping visitors in their tracks. Two new sculptures, created by French paleoartist Elisabeth Daynès, give a breathtakingly lifelike look at human relatives—Homo ergaster and Homo neanderthalensis. Read more about Bringing Neanderthals to Life: The Sculptures of Elisabeth Daynès
Alepotrypa Cave is like a time capsule of life in Neolithic Greece. The cave lay undisturbed for 5,000 years before it was rediscovered in the 1950s, and Greek archaeologists started excavating the cave in the 1970s. Since 2010, Field Museum associate curator Bill Parkinson has collaborated with archaeologists in Greece to understand the significance of this space. Read more about Window to the past: Alepotrypa Cave
After cleaning, the first part of Minirdis’ burial equipment that we treated was his coffin. The coffin was constructed of wood panels joined with wood dowels. A layer of an orange colored plaster like material had been applied over the wood to fill gaps between the wood panels and provide a smooth surface. On top of the plaster layer, the coffin had been painted black with red and yellow decoration. Read more about Through thick and thin! Stabilizing the Plaster on Minirdis’ Coffin
Removing the lid of the coffin was just the start. Now there was the problem of removing the damaged mummy from the lower half of the coffin. With the lid off we found that the right side piece, which had been held in place by the lid, was detached from the bottom of the coffin and could easily be removed. This meant that the mummy could be slid out, instead of trying to pick it up – good news because the assembly was very fragile. Even so, this was no small task, and it took four people to safely move him out of the coffin. Read more about How to Uncoffin a Mummy
The very first mummy and coffin we treated for this project was that of Minirdis. We know his name from the hieroglyphs on the coffin. Read more about Opening the Coffin of Minirdis
Traveling exhibits pose a challenge for museums, especially when particularly fragile objects such as mummies are involved. We want to share our objects and what we’ve found out about them with people outside the museum, but transporting the objects to other museums involves all kinds for risks – traffic accidents, malfunctioning forklifts, road vibration, and freezing winters to name just a few. Read more about Introduction to the Conservation of "Mummies: Images of the Afterlife"
Mummies: Images of the Afterlife will begin touring in September, 2015. Stay tuned to see them visiting a museum near you! Read more about Mummy Brains
Learn more about FMWIS intern Madeleine Farris, and her work with Emily Baca and Ryan Patrick Williams. Madeleine's project, "Archaeological Study of Peruvian Materials in the South American Laboratory" involved working with ceremanics and pottery to learn more about Inca economy and society. Read more about Field Museum Women in Science (FMWIS) Internships 2014 -- Madeleine Farris