Thesis Defense Announcement
College of Communication and Fine Arts announces the Final Thesis Defense of
for the Degree of Master of Arts
April 1, 2019 at 1:00 PM in Art and Communication Building
Advisor: Patricia Podzorski
Feeding the Pharaohs: A Discussion and Object Study of Fowl Victual Mummies from Ancient Egypt
ABSTRACT: Food offerings were a critical part of ancient Egyptian funerary ritual, as these offerings sustained the dead in the afterlife. Among food offerings placed in tombs were victual mummies: cuts of meat or whole fowl, such as ducks and geese, mummified and wrapped in linen bandages like their human and votive counterparts. This thesis seeks to better understand fowl victual mummies as an object class through a discussion of their procurement, processing, and production. This discussion addresses the status of victual mummy categorization – articulating the nuances in victual mummy construction and classification as mummified fowl, food offering, or a unique blend of both. This thesis specifically considers the following prompts: Are victual fowl mummies truly "mummy" in their preparation and presentation? Are victual fowl mummies prepared specifically as food items, ready for long-term consumption and storage? Or are they a unique blending of these trades, given their status as both a food offering and a "whole body" object? X-ray imaging and pXRF analysis were conducted on a fowl victual mummy (UM/IEAA 1981.1.18) at the University of Memphis to aid in addressing these questions.