As everyoneâs favorite movie archeologist, Rene Belloq, can tell you, many dangers lurk inside Egyptian tombs. Those foolish enough to venture inside will encounter traps, scorpions, snakes, and, of course, the legend of the dreaded mummy. And who knows how many adventurers met their doom when a sarcophagus creaked open and the last thing they ever saw was the succulent horror of a bandaged rack of ribs.
Like many ancient civilizations, the Egyptians believed that the afterlife was just Level 2 of the great game of existence. The more stuff you were buried with, the better youâd fare afterward. And none were more prepped for their personal apocalypse than the pharaohs, who took with them their riches, their organs, and even their pets and slaves to serve them on the journey. And since they also needed something to be served, these kings and queens were buried with a pantry of supplies, including meats, so carefully preserved archeologists refer to them as âvictual mummiesâ or âmeat mummies.â
Flavors of meat mummies came in a veritable smorgasbord of tombed doom. There was the beef rib mummy, the veal mummy, the sliced goat mummy, even the poultry mummy. In King Tutankhamunâs tomb, explorers found no fewer than 48 preparations of meat carefully placed into their own little sarcophagi. And like their pharaohs, who were entombed to look like sexy golden gods ...
These meat mummies, too, were given eternal rest inside of their ideal form, that of the hallucinations of a starving cartoon characterâ¦
And these tomb treats were preserved in ways that meat for mortal stomachs could never enjoy. Living up to their postmortem name, meat mummies were properly mummified, placed in bandages, and embalmed with expensive waxes and resins. Some were even given better funeral rites than their Pharoah roommates, like in the case of the embalmed rack of beef ribs found in the tomb of Amenhotep the Magnificentâs parents-in-law. And while archeologists are too cowardly to have a nibble of delicious-looking mummy jerky, Iâm sure plenty of tomb robbers have enjoyed these little post-peril snacks when they finally reached the inner sanctum.
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Top Image: PNAS