Advertisement

On the Potential of THz Time-Domain Spectroscopy to Identify Typical Ancient Egyptian Embalming Materials

  • E. StüblingEmail author
  • L. Öhrström
  • P. Eppenberger
  • M. Habicht
  • F. Rühli
  • M. Koch
Article

Abstract

We investigated the dielectric properties of typical embalming materials used in ancient Egypt in the THz frequency range. In addition, we evaluated the potential to identify these materials based on a principal component analysis of the spectroscopic data. Based on this, we estimated the composition of two unknown ancient bandages of mummified bodies.

Keywords

THz spectroscopy Identification potential Principal component analysis Embalming materials THz database 

Notes

Funding Information

We acknowledge funding through projects DFG KO 1520/12-1 and SNF 161763.

References

  1. 1.
    Herodotus, The Histories. London: Penguin, 1954.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    D. Siculus, The Library of History. London: Harvard University Press, 1933.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    L. Brockbals, M. Habicht, I. Hajdas, F. M. Galassi, F. J. Rühli, and T. Kraemer, “Untargeted metabolomics-like screening approach for chemical characterization and differentiation of canopic jar and mummy samples from Ancient Egypt using GC-high resolution MS,” Analyst, vol. 143, pp. 4503–4512, 2018.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    R. Brettell, W. Martin, S. Atherton-Woolham, B. Stern, and L. McKnight, “Organic residue analysis of Egyptian votive mummies and their research potential,” Stud. Conserv., vol. 62, no. 2, pp. 68–82, 2017.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    A. Charrié-Duhaut et al., “The canopic jars of Rameses II: real use revealed by molecular study of organic residues,” J. Archaeol. Sci., vol. 34, no. 6, pp. 957–967, 2007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    M. P. Colombini, F. Modugno, F. Silvano, and M. Onor, “Characterization of the Balm of an Egyptian Mummy from the Seventh Century B.C.,” Stud. Conserv., vol. 45, no. 1, pp. 19–29, 2000.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    J. Łucejko, J. Connan, S. Orsini, E. Ribechini, and F. Modugno, “Chemical analyses of Egyptian mummification balms and organic residues from storage jars dated from the Old Kingdom to the Copto-Byzantine period,” J. Archaeol. Sci., vol. 85, pp. 1–12, 2017.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    A. Tchapla, “Characterisation of embalming materials of a mummy of the Ptolemaic era . Comparison with balms from mummies of different eras”, Journal Sep. Sci., vol. 27, no. 3, pp. 217–234, 2004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    C. Papageorgopoulou, N. I. Xirotiris, P. X. Iten, M. R. Baumgartner, M. Schmid, and F. Rühli, “Indications of embalming in Roman Greece by physical, chemical and histological analysis,” J. Archaeol. Sci., vol. 36, no. 1, pp. 35–42, 2009.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    S. A. Buckley, A. W. Stott, and R. P. Evershed, “Studies of organic residues from ancient Egyptian mummies using high temperature-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and sequential thermal desorption-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and pyrolysis-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry,” Analyst, vol. 124, pp. 443–452, 1999.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    S. A. Buckley, K. A. Clark, and R. P. Evershed, “Complex organic chemical balms of Pharaonic animal mummies,” Nature, vol. 431, p. 294, 2004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    T. A. Cockburn, E. Cockburn, and T. A. Reyman, Mummies, Disease and Ancient Cultures, 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    D. Grischkowsky, S. Keiding, M. van Exter, and C. Fattinger, “Far-infrared time-domain spectroscopy with terahertz beams of dielectrics and semiconductors,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. B, vol. 7, no. 10, p. 2006, 1990.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    R. Piesiewicz, C. Jansen, S. Wietzke, D. Mittleman, M. Koch, and T. Kürner, “Properties of building and plastic materials in the THz range,” Int. J. Infrared Millimeter Waves, vol. 28, no. 5, pp. 363–371, 2007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    E. Stübling et al., “THz Properties of Adhesives,” J. Infrared, Millimeter, Terahertz Waves, 39, 586-593 2018.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    K. Fukunaga, “Construction of open terahertz spectral database,” J. Natl. Inst. Inf. Commun. Technol., vol. 55, no. 1, pp. 61–66, 2008.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    L. Öhrström, B. M. Fischer, A. Bitzer, J. Wallauer, M. Walther, and F. J. Rühli, “Terahertz Imaging Modalities of Ancient Egyptian Mummified Objects and of a Naturally Mummified Rat,” Anat. Rec., vol. 298, no. 6, pp. 1135–1143, 2015.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    L. Öhrström, A. Bitzer, M. Walther, and F. J. Rühli, “Technical note: Terahertz imaging of ancient mummies and bone,” Am. J. Phys. Anthropol., vol. 142, no. 3, pp. 497–500, 2010.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    J. B. Jackson et al., “Terahertz pulse imaging in archaeology,” Front. Optoelectron., vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 81–92, 2014.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    A. Cosentino, M. Leona, and D. T. Mininberg, “Investigating the use of terahertz pulsed time domain reflection imaging for the study of fabric layers of an Egyptian mummy,” J. Eur. Opt. Soc. - Rapid Publ., vol. 6, p. 11040, 2011.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    N. Lynnerup, “Mummies,” Yearb. Phys. Anthr., vol. 50, pp. 162–190, 2007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    M. E. Habicht et al., “Queen Nefertari , the Royal Spouse of Pharaoh Ramses II : A Multidisciplinary Investigation of the Mummified Remains Found in Her Tomb ( QV66 ),” PLoS One, vol. 11, pp. 1–20, 2016.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    S. A. Buckley and R. P. Evershed, “Organic chemistry of embalming agents in Pharaonic and Graeco-Roman mummies,” Nature, vol. 413, p. 837, 2001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    “Webpage T-Spectralyzer.” [Online]. Available: https://www.hubner-photonics.com/products/terahertz-technology/terahertz-spectrometers/t-spectralyzer/. [Accessed: 18-Jan-2018].
  25. 25.
    M. Scheller, C. Jansen, and M. Koch, “Analyzing sub-100-μm samples with transmission terahertz time domain spectroscopy,” Opt. Commun., vol. 282, no. 7, pp. 1304–1306, 2009.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Stübling
    • 1
    Email author
  • L. Öhrström
    • 2
  • P. Eppenberger
    • 2
  • M. Habicht
    • 2
  • F. Rühli
    • 2
  • M. Koch
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physics and Material Sciences CenterPhilipps-Universität MarburgMarburgGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Evolutionary Medicine, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations