Dental Prosthesis Postmortem Treatment of Oral Reconstruction during the Mummification Process

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Zeinab Hashesh
Jesús Herrerín



During excavations carried out in 2014 at Tell Tebilla, Egypt, three tombs were discovered inside a mud-brick mastaba, each one with an individual interment. The occupant of the second tomb was of great interest. It was a partially mummified man about 60 years old, named Wah ib Ra, a priest of Sekhmet. The detailed study of his skull and jaw revealed that this man had lost most of his teeth in life, long before his death. However, we discovered that new false teeth were carefully embedded during the mummification process in the gaps caused by antemortem teeth loss. To perform this maneuver, a white material was used as glue. Chemical analysis performed on this white material confirmed that it was anhydrite (CaSO4), which is the dehydrated form of plaster. Although the final result was successful, the embalmers made several errors in both the placement and the type of new teeth used. This performance of the embalmers can be framed within the actions already described as “prosthesis for the afterlife,” in which mummification would not only be a process to avoid putrefaction but also a moment in which the embalmers would try to rebuild, or improve the body in order for the individual to enjoy an eternal life without the problems or illnesses suffered in earthly life.


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