A comment on Facebook gave cause for me to consider how we view human remains and also what our own contribution to this world will be. This is especially relevant because I a current masters student on the Death and Memory archaeology multidisciplinary MA at Chester. I'm also the founder of Ancient and Sacred Trees and co-creator of a course about planning for our end of life.
Below is the beautiful image of the mummified remains of queen Tiyi, wife of Pharaoh Amenhotep III and grandmother of Pharaoh Tutankhamun.
Below is the comment describing the mummified remains as an 'it'.
BUT for me this is not an “it”. This is a dead female human being and still has humanity. Look at the hand posture, hairstyle and facial expression and consider the humanity of these remains.
I am always struck by the vulnerability of mummy's. Yes, we can learn much from the academic study, but we must be sensitive to the fact that here lies a human being, now long dead, but they had dreams, hopes, vanities, love and children they adored and they planned for an afterlife. Their remains deserve our respect.
They sought immortality through the process of mummification. They believed they needed their body and possessions in the afterworld. It seems in some of that she succeeded.
When we observe, remember and interact with the past we are dealing with people and stories, the consequences of which still reverberate to this day.
We still practise mummification. You will probably know this as embalming or the hygiene process. If you are offered this by a funeral director refuse it! This is because it is invasive and a highly toxic processes causing great damage to the environment during cremation or burial.
When you die what will the consequences of your life have been? You do not live in isolation from the world, you are of the world and all that you do has an impact for good or ill. What will yours be?
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I'm the founder of Ancient and Sacred Trees that plants & protects trees in the Tropics & the UK, an MA Archaeology student, artist, teacher, healer and land guide. I love trees, history and the healing power of Mother Nature and sacred connection.