The Bio Bank ventures to darkest Peru

Phew, it’s been a busy summer for animal mummies! For that reason, this is the first of several blog posts. Just a few weeks ago, the 9th World Mummy Congress was held in Lima, Peru, and many mummy studies experts, including myself and two colleagues from Manchester, made the long journey to attend the conference. Considering that funding is such as it is (sparse!), and travel being expensive, numbers were surprisingly healthy, with 170 podium presentations and many more posters. As the Congress was held in Peru, there were dedicated sessions on South American mummies, alongside symposia on themes such as mummy conservation and textiles, with a strong emphasis on scientific research techniques such as radiography and genomics. The KNH Centre was well-represented with five podium presentations. All in all, the four day conference was a great success with many new collaborations formed and established ones rekindled.

The conference organisers had arranged an evening visit to the National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History in Lima city centre. The museum was hosting a small exhibition of naturally mummified bodies – the perfect exhibition for a hoard of excited mummy experts! It was amazing to see the mummies which look very different to the Egyptian mummies we are used to dealing with in our research. These bodies were naturally mummified in a seated position, which makes them look very lifelike indeed.

As with all of the Mummy Congresses, all the participants are keen to know where the next meeting will be held. This year, the organisers revealed the exciting news, that, in autumn next year in Tenerife, there will be an extraordinary meeting to mark the 25th anniversary of the first congress. This announcement was particularly poignant given that many of the original organising committee have now passed away. Then, in 2020, the 10th Congress will be hosted in Bolzano, Italy, home to Otzi, the iceman.

Watch out for more blog posts about our time in Peru.


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