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About Mummy Tombs

School Visits by James M Deem

I visit schools and libraries to discuss any of the subjects I have researched (including mummies) and to encourage children to read and write more. I am happy to tailor a presentation for any group of students, adults, or educators. My talks are appropriate for children in third grade and older.

I am located in the United States, but I make international visits as well. I charge a daily honorarium and travel expenses from my home in Arizona. If you are interested in exploring this possibility, please e-mail me.

Goals of my visits: (1) To encourage students to become interested in the past. (2) To motivate them to read about subjects that interest them. (3) To show them that research is fascinating and that writing is fun. (4) To encourage students to write their own stories.

Presentations:

Ötzi and other glacier mummies.

In my PowerPoint presentation that includes many rare images, I first describe how glaciers are formed, how they move, and where they are found. I discuss what people thought of glaciers long ago, in the days before science, and how, more recently, scientists have studied glaciers.

I introduce students to the Iceman, showing them how he was discovered in the remains of a melting glacier and the fascinating objects and clothing that accompanied him. I explain how scientists eventually uncovered the cause of his death.

I discuss the problems that may be caused by the melting of glaciers (lack of drinking water and possible rise in the sea level). I also discuss the "positive" side of melting glaciers from an archaeological standpoint.  I describe how glaciers were explored like long-lost continents, how people who have died while crossing or climbing glaciers have been discovered at the melting edge of glaciers now that they are thawing. I discuss what scientists have found out about these discoveries by studying their remains and the artifacts that accompanied them. In particular, I introduce students to Ötzi the Iceman, showing them how he was discovered and what fascinating objects and clothing were found with him. I explain how scientists eventually uncovered the cause of his death. I compare the archaeological discovery of the Iceman to other finds in melting glaciers.

Egyptian mummies.

For this presentation, I take students on an amazing, 3000-year tour of Egyptian mummification, showing how mummies (and their coffins and their canopic jars and various other items, many unusual) changed over that period of time. I also introduce students to animal mummies, including many unusual examples. I have approximately 80 very rare images in my PowerPoint from museums around the world that illustrate this dramatic evolution. 

Bog people.

I define what a bog is, explain its "birth" and development, and discuss how and why early European peoples placed objects and bodies in bogs (and other watery places). I then take students on a tour of many different bog bodies, found in England, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark. I also explain why so many bogs have disappeared in the last fifty years. In my PowerPoint I show many rare images that I discovered during my research.

Pompeii.

I discuss what life was like in Pompeii before the famous eruption of AD 79. I describe the eruption of Vesuvius and its effect on the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum. I explain what happened to Pompeii afterwards and why it remained buried for 1700 years. I describe how Pompeii was accidentally uncovered and the types of objects and remains that were found there. I explain how the rediscovery of Pompeii has enabled scientists and historians to understand better what life was like in ancient Rome times. My PowerPoint presentation includes many rare images that I located in the photographic archive at Pompeii during my research.

Facial reconstruction.

I visit schools and libraries to speak to students about the incredible 60,000-mile journey I took in researching and writing this book. For my presentation, I can provide an overview of the entire book or concentrate on the chapters that are relevant to your specific curriculum (the contents include: Spirit Cave Man from Nevada, the Monacan Indians of Virginia, LaSalle's last expedition to the New World, a woman from colonial New York, the enslaved workers of a New York State farmstead, a Mexican soldier killed at the Battle of San Jacinto, the people of the almshouse, buffalo soldiers, and Chinese immigrants in Wyoming). I take students through the various steps of facial reconstruction. In addition, I explain how the human remains were discovered, why they were important, and why scientists decided to have an artist reconstruct the person's face.

 

You can find more information about my school visits on my author website.