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How to mummify a chicken

Boingboing has posted an interesting interview with Thor Carlson, an exhibit developer at the Science Museum of Minnesota who has been experimenting with mummifying chickens.

MKB: I was really curious about that. How do we know how mummification happened in Ancient Egypt. And how similar is the process of mummifying Nefertweety to those historical accounts?

TC: We end up talking to adults a lot about this. What we know about how Ancient Egyptians did it mostly comes from sections of The Book of the Dead, which is their map of what happens after death and how to get to the afterlife. It has information on different spells and the physical processes for different aspects of mummification. And we also get information on this from things that have been painted in tombs. There are a number of samples that show mummification being done.

One of the big variables [between ancient mummification and what we’re doing] are the salts. What they used is a naturally occurring mineral called natron, and you can’t go buy at the store in Minnesota. We’re following a formula that we think would make up the closest thing to natron. It’s one part table salt, two parts baking soda, and two parts sodium carbonate, which is also called washing soda.

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Story: Maggie Koerth-Baker, Boingboing | Photo: Boingboing

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