Buy Used
£7.09
+ £2.80 UK delivery
Used: Very Good | Details
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Ships from US; Please allow 14-24 business days for your book to arrive in the UK. Reliable customer service and no-hassle return policy.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Mummy Congress: Science, Obsession, and the Everlasting Dead Paperback – 19 Jun 2002


See all 12 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback, 19 Jun 2002
£1.00
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Theia; Reprint edition (19 Jun. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786884630
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786884636
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,152,249 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

Amazon Review

You do not have to be a necrophiliac to enjoy this book, and the congress in question is not on the wrong side of the moral track, but The Mummy Congress was inspired by a kind of academic love-in for amateurs of preserved bodies. Heather Pringle, a science writer who lives in Vancouver, Canada, was inspired to write this fascinating book by attending the Third World Congress on Mummy Studies held in the Chilean town of Arica at the edge of the Atacama desert. She returned, as she says "almost feverish with excitement over the wonderful stories I'd heard there". The Mummy Congress recounts many of these extraordinary stories of the discovery of mummified bodies and the people who have spent their professional lives trying to recover as much information as they can about them. There are some great crime stories here such as that of the 2400-year-old Tollund man of Denmark and the other bog bodies of Europe, many of whom might have been human sacrifices. Our concern for the dead and for elaborate burial ceremonies date back at least 30,000 years. Over the millennia humans around the world have discovered that burial in peatbogs, deserts and ice can preserve some soft tissue--especially the skin and hair, even muscle and brains--almost indefinitely. But since there are few places in the world where such conditions persist, peoples since the Chinchorros of Chile and the ancient Egyptians have spent a lot of effort trying to replicate such processes of mummification and invent even better artificial ones. The scientific investigation of mummified bodies might not be for the fainthearted and is today very sophisticated, but according to Heather Pringle, those that pursue the cause "are unquestionably heroic... they debate earnestly... the ethics of putting the ancient dead on display... (and) ...never talk lightly or unfeelingly about their ailments... they show us that even the greatest kings and holiest of saints... once suffered the common toll of humanity-disease, injury and pain". The Mummy Congress is a great read and I suspect lots of friends and family will be subjected to many a "listen to this" or "would you believe" quote. There are 16 pages of illustrations including some spooky colour photos along with an index and bibliography and, by the way, the next Mummy Congress is to be held in Greenland. --Douglas Palmer --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

'Guaranteed to fascinate and entertain.' Anthony Sattin, Sunday Times

'The Mummy Congress is wide ranging in every sense. Heather Pringle's lively prose takes us across the centuries, across the globe, and across scientific disciplines. Bringing to life the study of mummies, she introduces us to the scholars of desiccated flesh: the Egyptologists, pathologists and archaeologists who gather at the "world mummy congress" with which she begins and ends her enthralling book.' Jonathan Sale, Independent

'Heather Pringle takes care to tell you the icky things you really wanted to know, while eloquently touring the world of present-day mummy studies.' Francis Spufford, Evening Standard

'Highly entertaining. From Chile to China, The Mummy Congress zips around the world and is far more lively than a book about dead people has any right to be.' Doug Johnstone, Scotland on Sunday

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
First Sentence
IN THE GRAND SCHEME OF scientific meetings, the Mummy Congress is a small, intimate affair, long on singular personalities and surreal slide shows and short on sophistication, hype, and ballyhoo. Read the first page
Explore More
Concordance
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Matthews on 26 Nov. 2002
Format: Paperback
Sold to the public by the sensationalist media, mummies are often the reluctant victims of voyeuristic graverobbers, stripped bare of past dignity and presented to further the interests of pseudo-science.
Not so in Heather Pringle’s excellent book, ‘The Mummy Congress.’ Her start point is sheer curiosity as to what rational beings really do at a mummy conference in the middle of nowhere. Actually, they do what the rest of us do at conferences- attend presentations, grumble about scheduling and prop up the bar -but I suspect with more enthusiasm than most, for theirs is a subject that grabs the soul, and refuses to let go.
Her desire to understand the reasons why people mummified their dead develops into an elegantly argued insight to the human condition and our continuing need to establish a continuation of existence.
This beautifully written narrative deals with both archaeological fact and carefully reasoned spiritual insight, exploring the reasons why humans feel compelled to preserve and project themselves into the future.
Conspiracy theorists and the ‘aliens showed the Egyptians what to do’ lobby will be disappointed with this book- the rest of us will applaud an insight as to why we are still fascinated with mummies.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Sn Cottam on 2 Dec. 2001
Format: Hardcover
Ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats for a geographic, psychological and cultural tour of preserved dead humans, in the ebullient company of science writer Heather Pringle...
Ms Pringle delves into fascinating areas of human body preservation, both deliberate (in the case of Egyptian and Chilean and Soviet mummies) or accidental (as in the bog bodies of northern Europe and frozen sacrificed children in the high Andes). The tour proceeds around the world at breathless pace and although an entertaining read we are frequently left wanting to know more. Ms Pringle introduces other areas, not normally considered as mummies, such as the preserved bodies of Soviet leaders and saints of the Roman Catholic Church, these are interesting but perhaps spreads the book's remit too widely and the result to this reader seems somewhat superficial. (Although the book is not quite as snappy as the advertising slogan used by Liverpool Museum in the 1980s - "Bring your Mummy to see ours").
However the book is filled with colorful incidents and characters and reads very well, the subject matter can hardly fail to interest and enthrall (as Ms Pringle makes clear one of the most interesting aspects of mummy studies is the enduring fascination that the preserved dead evokes in so many people). Apart from one or two errors (Silkeborg is not in Norway) it seems medically and historically accurate. And there is an excellent bibliography for those whose appetite is whetted by this readable and interesting book to dig further.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By "andylondon" on 23 Sept. 2001
Format: Hardcover
I was spurred into the purchase of this book following its review in the UK's Daily Mail Newspaper. Egyptology together with Mummification processes have always fascinated me, however, unfortunately very little non-fiction exists on the subject due to its morbid undertones.
The book centres on the writer's experiences with regard the study of Mummification. The title of the book gives away more than it implies. The Mummy Congress is a conference held on a remote island for those that study Mummies.
The writer focuses in on a number of Mummy experts and joins them in their search for more information on mummies, which includes travelling with them to remote areas and carrying out post mortems on the mummies.
The ethical elements of disturbing the dead are explored in great depths with the counter arguments associated with the scientific and medical knowledge that has helped mankind understand diseases and disease spreading insects.
I found the book very slow to begin with, but soon found it difficult to put down, after all, I purchased the book to expand by knowledge of Mummies and Mummification, and not, about the hotel the writer was staying in.
The book, in places goes into the exact procedures for the ritual embalming of bodies and the reasons as to why certain procedures are carried out. This book is not for the squeamish!
On the whole I would highly recommend this book and found it exceedingly educational.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Valerie Fletcher Adolph VINE VOICE on 12 Dec. 2003
Format: Hardcover
The writer brings a journalistic approach to the topic of mummies and the sub-title of the book clearly defines the multiple angles she chose to follow. She covers a great deal of territory, both geographically (all the continents except Antarctica) historically, psychologically and morally.
In a sense this is almost an "Encyclopedia of the Mummy" because it covers so many aspects of mummy hunting, dissecting and preserving. Most mummy hunters seem obsessed by their quest. They may be after mummies for scientific, historic, theatric or religious reasons, but hunt them they must. This raises moral issues; after all these were once human beings that we are putting on display, slicing for DNA or just carting off to some museums storage room. Can we justify it if we, say, understand some disease better after the research? Or is it just voyeurism for us all to know what the Iceman ate for his last meal?
The writer introduces us to individual mummy hunters, strong characters all, and the unusual places they work. Her writing is clear and vivid, if a trifle long. She is at her best describing the moral and psychological issues surrounding our fascination with mummies and the way they relate to our own mortality anf hopes for immmortality.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again


Feedback