Why I created Mummy Tombs
Hello, my name is James M Deem, and I created Mummy Tombs over 15 years ago. I created Mummy Tombs because finding the truth about mummies is harder than you might suppose.
As I researched my first book on mummies, How to Make a Mummy Talk, I quickly discovered that there was no "Mummy Central"--that is, a library or research organization that collected and maintained information about world mummies. I learned that researchers tend to specialize in a certain mummy type and often have little interest in other mummies.
When I finished my second mummy book, Bodies from the Bog, I was too interested in the subject to forget it. So I decided to put my knowledge to good use and keep learning with you, by building Mummy Tombs to answer questions about mummies--not just from Egypt, but from around the world.
I have gone on to write two more mummy-related books: Bodies from the Ash (an award-winning look at the plaster casts of Pompeii) and Bodies from the Ice (an examination of the many glacier mummies including Ötzi that have been revealed as the Earth's glaciers recede).
So why bother to do all this for mummies, you may be wondering?
1. My overall goal is to encourage learners of all ages. I am a retired reading professor (and children's author) who wants to make sure that kids grow up to be literate. That means producing adults who can read, write, and can get their question answered. Mummies are such a fascinating subject that children can read and write about them. Mummies are also a great way to learn about history and science (rather painlessly, I think).
2. Mummies are a serious subject that many people misunderstand. Many people have mistaken ideas about mummies; it is my hope that Mummy Tombs will help clarify information. Explore the stories and facts I have posted here. Then if you have questions, send me an email.
3. Mummies are disappearing around the world, and this website is one way to preserve them. Some are disappearing because they haven't been stores well in museums; insects and temperature fluctuation have caused some mummies to disintegrate. Other mummies are disappearing because many people believe it is not right to look at a dead person in a museum—no matter how old the mummy is. It makes sense that recent mummies (including those of Native Americans, found in southwest U.S. caves, dating from 400 to 600 years ago) be banned from museum exhibit (and they are—now—but it took years for Congress to pass a law stopping this practice). You see, recent mummies can often be traced to a certain family that still exists--and why would anyone allow the body of a relative to be displayed for the world to see? On the other hand, even ancient mummies (including those from Egypt) are being removed from some museums, especially in the United States. You won't find one at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., any more. Even in Europe, some mummies (of the Guanches, for example) have been taken off display, and it's possible that certain bog bodies may be next. Many archaeologists and other scientists believe that museum mummies provide a valuable educational service for the public. They teach about past civilizations and societies--and they also teach about the inevitability of death.
My hope is that Mummy Tombs helps to bridge this gap.