One of the more remarkable things to encounter in forensic medicine is a modern urban mummy. A mummy is the end-result of the right combination of factors. The chances of the process coming out right are much higher if it is done intentionally.


Mummification requires:

(1) control of human putrefaction

(2) control of micro-organisms

(3) dessication of all or part of the body

(4) protection from animals


Mummification may be planned or accidental.


Planned mummification may involve:

(1) replacement of blood with embalming fluid

(2) removal of internal viscera

(3) use of salt or other chemicals to remove water

(4) external application of oils and other materials with antibacterial activity

(5) careful drying


Accidental mummification may require all or most of the following:

(1) a body left undisturbed for some time

(2) a dry environment

(3) air with low humidity

(4) a relatively constant temperature that is either cold or hot

(5) a means of quickly wicking moisture away from the body

(6) absence of animal predation


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