5,600-Year-Old Mummy Unveils Ancient Egyptian Embalming Formula

Fred proves that Egyptians had been using embalming practices for more than 1,500 years longer than scientists believed.


Fred, the Turin mummy.

One incredibly well-preserved 5,600-year-old mummy is now upending much of what we thought we knew about Ancient Egyptian embalming.

A new study published in the Journal of Archaeological Science shows strong evidence that embalming practices in Ancient Egypt were in place more than 1,500 years earlier than previously believed.

A team of researchers made their conclusions after examining “Fred,” an exceptionally well-preserved mummy discovered more than 100 years ago and housed in Turin’s Egyptian Museum since 1901, according to National Geographic. After being brought to the museum originally, the mummy had not undergone any additional preservation methods, which meant that he would be the perfect subject for investigation in terms of how he was preserved the first time around.


Believed to be around 5,600 years old, the Turin mummy was originally thought to be a preservation anomaly. Fred was believed to have been naturally preserved by the extreme desert heat.

However, the study examined the remains of the mummy and discovered that not only had the mummy actually been embalmed by humans, but he had been preserved using a recipe similar to the ones used 2,500 years later on pharaohs and noblemen like King Tut during Egypt’s peak mummification period, according to Live Science.

The study’s co-author, Jana Jones, an Egyptologist at Australia’s Mac𝚚uarie University, previously explored fragments of clothing from mummy funeral wrappings from around the same time as Fred but from a different location and found evidence that hinted at mummy embalming.

However, those hints were not enough to convince skeptics that embalming was actually taking place because they had only clothes to examine and no actual bodies. So, to prove their theory, they needed a body — and they turned to Fred to help them gather definitive proof.


Jones and her team used a variety of tests to examine the linen fragments from the Turin mummy’s torso and wrist as well as a woven basket that was buried with his remains to figure out the exact components of the embalming salve. What they discovered turned out to be a groundbreaking find.

According to National Geographic, the salve consisted of a plant oil base that was then combined with plant gum or sugars, heated conifer resin, and aromatic plant extracts. The components were extremely similar to the salves used thousands of years later, suggesting that Ancient Egyptian embalming practices had been established far earlier than previously thought.

“It’s confirming our previous research, undoubtedly,” Jones told National Geographic.


However, the Turin mummy was discovered in the fetal position with all of his organs still inside his body, which is vastly different from the techni𝚚ues that the Ancient Egyptians used on mummies afterward (which included laying them flat and removing their organs). Nevertheless, the salve used to embalm the bodies was remarkably similar to the ones used much later.

Thus the study’s groundbreaking discovery has taken a giant leap towards unlocking secrets about the mysterious and fascinating story of Ancient Egyptian mummies.

Related Posts

Brave Baby Elephant Euthanized Due to Feeding Disability: A Heartfelt Journey Cut Short

Heartbreak at St. Louis Zoo: Farewell to Avi, the Beloved Baby Asian Elephant In a somber turn of events, the St. Louis Zoo bid farewell to Avi,…

Believe Your Eyes: Witnessing the Reality of a Pink Elephant

  In the bustling city of Naypyidaw, Burma, an extraordinary sight captivated onlookers—a pair of pink elephants frolicking under the care of their devoted caretaker. Bathed in…

Maternal Heroism: Elephant Mother Leads Herd to Rescue Baby Fallen Into South African River

  In the vast expanse of the wilderness, where every moment teeters on the edge of survival, the bonds of family among elephants shine brightest. Recently, in…

Rescuing Tsavo’s Drought-Affected Elephant Orphans: Racing Against the Clock

In the harsh wilderness of Tsavo, where droughts can spell doom for young elephants, every rescue mission becomes a race against time. Dehydration and malnutrition lurk as…

Why Roseanne Barr is Missing from ‘The Conners’ and the Potential for Her Return

Roseanne Barr’s departure from “The Conners” marked a significant turning point in the beloved series, leaving fans both saddened and curious about the future of her character,…

Jen Psaki Advocates for Biden’s Appearance on ‘The View’ Over Traditional Press Conferences

Former White House press secretary Jen Psaki stepped up to defend President Biden’s unorthodox approach to engaging with the media on Monday, arguing that prioritizing appearances on…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *