Dr Jana Jones, of Pokolbin, studies Egyptian mummies

Embalmed: The Ancient Egyptians preserved bodies as mummies to send them on their journey to the next world.
Embalmed: The Ancient Egyptians preserved bodies as mummies to send them on their journey to the next world.

Pokolbin-based Egyptologist Dr Jana Jones is delving into the mysterious world of Egyptian mummies.

Can we just say Jana Jones is a great name. In our head, all we can think of is this phrase: “Dr Jones I presume?”.

We’re also imagining that she is the wife of renowned archaeologist Indiana Jones. But let’s get our heads out of the movies and back to reality.

Dr Jana Jones is actually a researcher with Macquarie University’s Department of Ancient History. She’s researching the secrets of ancient Egyptian embalmers.

She’s been doing some research on a 6000-year-old mummy named Fred, which is based at an Italian museum. Don’t ask us how it got that name. A Fred Flintstone reference, perhaps? 

Anyhow, Fred has been housed in the Egyptian Museum in Turin since 1901.

It was thought to have been naturally mummified by the “desiccating action of the hot, dry, desert sand”.

Using chemical analysis, scientists – including Dr Jones – uncovered evidence that the mummy had in fact undergone an embalming process, with plant oil, heated conifer resin, an aromatic plant extract and plant gum/sugar.

These substances were mixed together and used to “impregnate the funerary textiles in which the body was wrapped”.

This mixture contained antibacterial agents used in a similar way to the Egyptian embalming process that occurred some 2500 years later.

Dr Jones, an expert on ancient Egyptian burial practices, said the findings were a “momentous contribution to our limited knowledge of the prehistoric period and the expansion of early mummification practices”.

She said the work revealed “vital, new information on this particular mummy”.

“We confirmed that this ritual mummification process took place around 3600 BC on a male aged between 20 and 30 years when he died.”

Nice work, Dr Jones. 

From Beijing to Gosford

Last Thursday, it was exactly 10 years ago that Usain Bolt became the fastest man alive. He won the men's 100-metre final in Beijing, setting a then world record time of 9.69 seconds. A year later, he ran 100 metres in 9.58 seconds in Berlin, a record that still stands. Yesterday, he had his first training session with Central Coast Mariners in Gosford, as part of his bid to become a professional soccer player.

There’s a saying in England about foreigners who come to play in the country’s premier soccer league.

For example: “He’s great in Spain, but can he do it on a cold, rainy night in Stoke?”.

Former Socceroo and Newcastle Jets player Ned Zelic created his own version of this for the Jamaican sprint superstar.

“Usain Bolt is a legend, but can he do it on a dry, sunny Tuesday morning in Gosford?”

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Egyptologist Jana Jones.

Egyptologist Jana Jones.

This story first appeared on The Newcastle Herald

This story Pokolbin scientist discovers secrets of Fred the ancient mummy first appeared on Newcastle Herald.