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More about mummy 1770

In their book, The Manchester Museum Mummy Project, K. C. Hodge and G. W. A. Newton examined in detail the carbon dating of mummy 1770, showing the calculations and adjustments for variations in carbon 14 content in the earth's atmosphere using standards derived from tree rings. Here are the measured dates and the adjusted dates:

Portion Examined Raw Date Adjusted Date
right shoulder blade (scapula) 822 B.C. 900 B.C.
 left shoulder blade (scapula) 868 B.C. 1100 B.C.
outer bandage 364 A.D. 441 A.D.
inner bandage 245 A.D. 323 A.D.

“The conclusion is clear,” they wrote, “that the bones appear older than the bandages, and this conclusion is independent of any corrections.” They continue:

It is possible that the bones contain more organic carbon of fossil origin, example bitumen from the Dead Sea area which could have been used in the mummification process. However, because of the careful pretreatment of the samples we consider this unlikely. The remaining conclusion is that the body was wrapped or rewrapped in bandages some considerable time after death.

This last point about the body being rewrapped is often omitted in literature about the Shroud of Turin. That is unfortunate. It may lead some to think that carbon dating is not accurate for linen. However, there is another mummy, and Ibis mummy that shares some of the same anomalous types of measurements and it seems very unlikely that the mummy of a bird would have been rewrapped.


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