Get smart curated videos delivered to your inbox.   SUBSCRIBE
The Kid Should See This

Unmasking the Secrets That Ancient Mummies Hold

Watch more with these video collections:

For more than a century, archaeologists have dismantled mummy coffins, also known as cartonnage, in a hunt for literary treasure. In ancient Egypt, undertakers entombed the departed middle-class in sheets of papyrus thrown out by local scribes, hiding the recycled wrapping with a layer of paint and plaster, or gesso. To uncover the text—everything from bills of sale to the rare castoff of Greek literature—collectors use invasive methods, including massaging intact coverings in a sink full of Palmolive suds.

The trouble is, it’s impossible to know if you’re searching for Sophocles or a shopping list before dissolving an artifact.

From Wired: Unmasking the Secrets That Ancient Mummies Hold, an introduction to how archaeologists, physicists, and engineers from Berkeley, Duke, UCL, and Stanford are working together to use a technology called Phase Contrast Imaging to scan these pieces for preservation and future study.

Next: The Great Pyramid of Giza was bright white & highly polished.

This Webby award-winning video collection exists to help teachers, librarians, and families spark kid wonder and curiosity. TKSST features smarter, more meaningful content than what's usually served up by YouTube's algorithms, and amplifies the creators who make that content.

Curated, kid-friendly, independently-published. Support this mission by becoming a sustaining member today.

🌈 Watch these videos next...

Why does this scientist shoot lasers at trees?

Rion Nakaya

Why did Ramesses II make so many colossal statues of himself?

Rion Nakaya

Whale Fall (After Life of a Whale)

Rion Nakaya

Way of Giants (Caminho dos Gigantes), a wordless animation about the circle of life

Rion Nakaya

Visualizing the Pyramids of Giza

Rion Nakaya

The Terracotta Warriors, China’s world record display

Rion Nakaya

The spectacular stone monuments of Petra, Jordan

Rion Nakaya

The Pyramids of Giza, a 2-hour (mostly) slow TV walking tour

Rion Nakaya

The Great Pyramid of Giza was bright white & highly polished

Rion Nakaya