the Valley of the Golden Mummies in Bahariya Oasis, perhaps the
most significant and spectacular discovery in recent years.
A couple of months ago, I had the pleasure of attending a FREE
lecture by two members of the research team working on the mummies of
Bahariya. The two lecturers were faculty members of the University
of Hawaii. One was an epidemiologist and former classmate and good
friend of Zahi Hawass. He was invited by his old buddy to study the
mummies of Bahariya. The other fellow, sorry but I can’t recall
their names, was in art and archaeology. W hen he found out about the
project, he ran across campus to the med school and latched on to the
project through his colleague.
The MD/epidimiologist was really excited about the find because he
had thousands of subjects of all ages and socioeconomic groups to
study. He has started studying the mummies with a portable cat scan.
Besides checking out cause of death, vital statistics (age, sex,
height, etc), they were able to do scans to check for trace elements
in bone, hair, etc. They could get some idea of the living, working,
dietary conditions of the time. They could look at family groupings
to search for congenital diseases. Unfortunately, they are not
allowed to do DNA studies on these mummies or the Royal Mummies at
The archaeologist was also thrilled with the sheer wealth of subject
matter. So much of the site is unpillaged by grave robbers because
the site is in the middle of no where. They jokingly said a donkey
found the site when a sink hole opened up under the animal. It
sounded as if it will take several life times to sort through
I wish I could attend Dr. Hawass’ lecture.