Mummification Was Also Done in Great Britain, Study Suggests

February 28, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. preserve / prɪˈzɜrv / (v.) – to keep or maintain
ExampleLocals preserve the food by putting spices in it

2. unique / yuˈnik / (adj.) – the only one of its kind
ExampleThey created a unique melody for the song.

3. corpse / kɔrps / (n.) – a dead body
ExampleCorpses are sold in medical schools for students’ use.

4. decay / dɪˈkeɪ / (v.) – to become destroyed
Example: The plants decayed after not having enough water and sunlight.

5. affirm / əˈfɜrm / (v.) – to confirm
ExampleThe family affirmed that the dead body was indeed their relative.


Read the text below.
A new study suggests that people in Great Britain during the Bronze Age used mummification to preserve the dead.

Researchers found that people in Great Britain used unique and unusual ways to mummify, or preserve the bodies of dead people. While all of the processes used for mummifying the corpses remain unknown, evidence gave researchers insight on possible steps taken. An example would be the fact that some bones showed signs of being exposed to heat, which researchers believe came from smoking them over fires. The position of the bones also suggests that the bones were wrapped before being placed over fire.

The researchers, led by Thomas Booth of the Natural History Museum, examined bones from thirty-four corpses. Sixteen out of the thirty-four showed little to no bacterial damage. This shows that the bodies’ flesh did not decay because of mummification. These findings were published in the journal Antiquity.

Booth said that people in Great Britain during the Bronze Age might have left the bodies of their mummified relatives in certain pieces of land to help affirm their claim on it.

Dr. Martin Smith, an anthropologist who was not involved in the study, is optimistic that the study’s findings can give more insight into the Bronze Age. Previously, it was believed that burial practices during that period involved only burying the dead in the ground. However, since findings showed that the position of the bones was unusual, it is a possibility that people mummified the body and kept it above ground for generations before being put in graves.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What are your thoughts about the article?
·         Given the chance, would you also like to discover some historical facts about your country?

Discussion B

·         Why is history important?
·         Which would you rather study – the past or the future?

February 28, 2016