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Earthly Remains: The History and Science of Preserved Human Bodies [Hardcover]

Andrew T. Chamberlain , Michael Parker Pearson


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Book Description

Feb. 15 2002
The preserved remains of other human beings hold a special fascination for the living. Earthly Remains explores the history and science behind such phenomena and examine cases ranging from ancient Egyptian mummies to twentieth-century politicians, from Iron Age bog bodies to cryonics and modern preservation techniques. After explaining the scientific processes of decay, the authors move on to discuss the bog bodies of northern Europe, including the famous Lindow Man and several Danish examples, many of which were found mutilated or handicapped. The authors then turn their attention to one of the oldest methods of preservation-mummification-looking not only at famous ancient Egyptian examples, but also at the earliest known mummies of the Chinchorro people from South America. The preservation of bodies as a result of environmental factors such as freezing is also addressed, and the painstaking scientific processes involved in unearthing and interpreting finds such as those at Pompeii and Sutton Hoo is described. Finally, this study would not be complete without a look at modern preservation methods and humanity's perennial search for immortality through techniques such as cryonics, cloning, DNA and suspended animation. Extensively illustrated with haunting images gathered from the collections of cultural institutions around the world, such as the British Museum, Earthly Remains is a compelling book that will appeal to everyone's sense of mystery in the history andorigins of our ancestors.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (Feb. 15 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195218523
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195218527
  • Product Dimensions: 25.6 x 19.6 x 1.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 789 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #935,688 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-A fascinating look at the different ways and reasons that various cultures have preserved human remains over time. Each chapter discusses one type of preservation and possible motivations behind this protection of the dead. Different types include peat-bog bodies, mummification, frozen bodies, and body impressions or negatives left in soil or ash. Chamberlain and Pearson describe a variety of different cultures for each of the types of preservation, although there is an Anglo-European emphasis. This book has an adequate index and an extensive bibliography. The illustrations provide good visual examples for the text and include a section of color plates. It is interesting that the addition of color makes these pictures appear more graphic. The authors cover a sensitive topic with scientific precision and honesty.
Tracy Ansley, formerly at Cary Academy, NC
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Review

"From ancient Egyptian mummies to Iron Age bog bodies found in northern Europe, human remains reveal much about past cultures."--atural History "A fascinating look at the different ways and reasons that various cultures have preserved human remains over time....The authors cover a sensitive topic with scientific precision and honesty."--School Library Journal

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
It has long been known that bodies placed in the ground decay, and that this natural process can be slowed or arrested by human intervention. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ....and to dust thou shalt return. May 18 2008
By J. Guild - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
An excellent account of what mankind, through its long history, has done with the remains of its deceased. Through what has been found, over the years,we have tried to piece together the cultures,religions,eating habits,diseases and every aspect of life by the peoples who have preceeded us.The little that we know has,to a large degree, been determined from clues presented when remains have been found.For such a relatively short book,of only 206 pages, including many excellent photographs,the authors have done an amazingly good job in describing what was done with the bodies,both intentionally and unintentionally,that have resulted in some remains being intact for ,not only hundreds ,but thousands of years.
Is it the fear of death,the fear of the unknown,the desire to honor and remember;or some underlying desire for everlasting perpetuity;that has challenged mankind and cultures to find a way for remains to be everlasting? That remains an unanswered question that has been with all civilizations and cultures;and as so well shown in this book;will likely remain,well into the future.One can only imagine how cluttered the world would get if a simple method of preserving a body forever,were ever found.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding the past through the dead Feb. 24 2008
By Anjanette M. Kalb - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
If you are interested in anthropology, archaeology, mummy studies, or pre technology man, this is a good book. The detailed descriptions of the remains, good pictures, and summaries of the scientific studies is very informative. This book is hard to get. I bought the last available copy in the US when I bought it for my Mummies of the World class. I highly recommend if you want to learn more about the remains of our ancestors and what the bodies can tell us, this is one of the best books for the job.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read April 8 2013
By Steve - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Fascinating! Well narrated story, good high quality bindings and clear well definede graphics. Followed a clear timeline from past to present.
5.0 out of 5 stars . . . PRESERVING THE REMAINS OF OUR LOVED ONES . . . March 18 2013
By MS E M GARRISON - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
... WE HAVE LOSS A JEFFERSON COUNTY OFFICIAL ( THE LATE MR JAMES HENRY ( "JIMMY" )MCKISSIC / 1940 - 2013 / WHO LIVED ABOARD FOR ALMOST FIFTY YEARS / ETC ) JIMMY WAS AN INTERNATIONAL PIANIST ( AN AFRICAN AMERICAN ) WHO WAS BORN & GREW UP IN THE MID SOUTH ( LITTLE ROCK & PINE BLUFF ARKANSAS ) HE MADE FOR HIMSELF - A MUSICAL CAREER LIKE NONE OTHER ( AND ALL OF THIS BEGAN - AT THIS PARENTS KNEE ( THE LATE REV JAMES & ROSA MCKISSIC / PINE BLUFF ARKANSAS ) AM HAPPY TO SAY ( THAT JIMMY WAS NOT LEFT OUT ) AS AN ACHIEVER ( EACH & EVERYONE OF HIS SIBLINGS MADE THEIR MARK - IN LIFE ) JIMMY TOOK HIS DOWN HOME MUSIC ABILITIES - TO THE MUSIC HALLS OF EUROPE - AS WELL AS HERE IN AMERICA ( CARNEGIE HALL - 28 PERFORMANCES / NEW YORK CITY / USA ) WITH ALL OF THESE ACHIEVEMENT ( BUT - JUST SUPPOSE / ECELLES GARRISON / A LITERARY WORK IN SOME DISTANCE FUTURE / NONE FICTIONAL / ETC ) HE WAS NOT CREMATED BUT WAS FROZEN INSTEAD - AS HE AWAITS A CURE FOR HIS MEDICAL CONDITION ( JIMMY ALWAYS HAD WILD IDEAS IN HIS HEAD ) AFTER BECOMING ILL - HIS FAMILY MEMBERS WENT & GOT HIM - JIMMY CAME HOME SURROUNDED BY FAMILY & LIVED THE LAST FEW YEARS OF HIS LIFE ON AMERICAN SOIL - JIMMY HAD HOPES OF RECOVERING FROM HIS MEDICAL CONDITION ( HE EVEN SET A CERTAIN DATE ) BUT HE DID NOT MAKE IT TO THAT DATE ( SAT 16 MARCH 2013 ) WAS HIS BIRTHDAY & HIS FAMILY HAD MEMORIAL SERVICES FOR HIM ( AT THE FINES ARTS BUILDING - UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS AT PINE BLUFF / PINE BLUFF ARKANSAS ) AT THE INSTITUTION OF HIGHER LEARNING - WHERE HE GRADUATED FROM - BEFORE GOING ABOARD - TO START HIS MUSIC CAREER ( WE EVEN HAD A CHANCE TO WATCH AS JIMMY ) TOOK THE LAST EUROPEAN FLIGHT TO NEW YORK ( ON THE CONCORDE ) DURING HIS MEMORIAL SERVICES ( WAS HE THE LAST AFRICAN AMERICAN - MALE ) OR WAS HE AMONG THE LAST AFRICAN AMERICAN MALES ( ABOARD AND/OR STATE SIDE ) TO HAVE FLOWN INTO THE NEW YORK AIRPORT - ON THIS MIGHTY JET ( THE BOOK OF GUINNESS RECORDS - OFFICIALS ) NEEDS TO CHECK INTO THIS ( AN INTERNATIONAL MUSICIAN - OF COLOR ) SHARES HIS GOD GIVEN TALENTS WORLD WIDE - AND THEN HE COMES HOME TO REST ( JIMMY DIED A HAPPY MAN ) WHO HAD DONE IT ALL & SEEN IT ALL ( TO GOD BE THE GLORY ) FOR THE THINGS HE HAS DONE ...
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Students love it! June 7 2010
By JR - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
My middle school science students love this book! Bog bodies are my favorite subject when teaching science so this book was a great resource.

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