Washington: A new study has revealed that mummified cuts of meat were preserved and placed in Egyptian tombs as food for the afterlife.
To study how the "meat mummies" were made, University of Bristol biogeochemist Richard Evershed and his team conducted a chemical analysis on four samples from meat mummies archived at the Cairo and British museums, Fox News reported.
The oldest "meat mummy" dated back to between 1386 B.C. and 1349 B.C and was a rack of cattle ribs from the tomb of Tjuiu, a noblewoman, and her courtier Yuya, an Egyptian power couple.
Next was a sample of calf meat, which dated to between 1064 B.C. and 948 B.C., belonging to Isetemkheb D, a sister and wife to a high priest in Thebes.
The last two samples from the tomb of a Theban priestess, Henutmehyt, who died around 1290 B.C., consisted of duck, and goat.
The findings showed that animal fat coated the bandages of the calf and goat mummies, but in the case of the calf, the fat was on bandages not in contact with the meat.
Interestingly, the bandage on the beef mummy contained remnants of an elaborate balm made of fat or oil and resin from a Pistacia tree, which was a luxury item in ancient Egypt, a shrubby desert plant.
The study is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.