During a crisis, a lot of things get overlooked and others, rightly so, such as famine, take priority. Preserving a country’s mummies probably isn’t the first thing that you think of as a casualty of war, unless you’re a historian or archaeologist.
So! Adding to Yemen’s growing list of war casualties – mummies.
A general view shows a millenia-old mummy displayed in a glass cabinet at Sanaa University, in the Yemeni capital on May 10, 2017. Yemen’s war has claimed thousands of lives and pushed millions to the brink of famine — and now the conflict threatens the fate of a collection of millennia-old mummies. With electricity intermittent at best and the country’s ports under de facto blockade, experts are fighting to preserve the 12 cadavers in the face of heat, humidity and a dearth of preservative chemicals.
Reuters – Ancient mummies rot as Yemen war vexes even the dead
The dozen or so mummies are at an archaeology department at a university in Sana’a where the war has affected efforts to preserve the mummies. The mummies come from an ancient pagan civilization that pre-dates Islam.
“The mummies have started to decay and are infected with bacteria. This is because we don’t have electricity and the machines that are supposed to maintain them,” said Abdelrahman Jarallah, head of the university’s anitiquities department.
The university needs chemicals to sanitize the mummies every 6 months, consistent electricity (which frequently goes out) to run the dehumidifiers, and funding.
A Yemeni student looks at a millenia-old mummy displayed at Sanaa University, in the Yemeni capital on May 10, 2017.
The mummies have survived over two thousands years and now are struggling through a war just over 2 years old. You know it’s really bad when even ancient mummies can’t make it.
“We have samples of unique mummies that can be found almost nowhere else in the Arab peninsula. The one and only sample in the department of antiquities. They are without doubt the evidence of a nation’s history. We are afraid of losing these historical artifacts forever.”