Ancient messengers: the hidden lives of mummies and bog bodies

March 10, 2015Byens Lys Copenhagen
Doors open: 19:00
Start programme: 20:00
Byens Lys
Fabriksområdet 99

Science & Cocktails v6.0 restarts. The first episode deals with the ancient past of human civilisation, carried by silent messengers over thousands of years.

Ancient cultures nourished ancient rituals. In old Egyptian civilisation deliberate mummification became a sign of wealth and social status, and constituted a step towards living well in the afterlife. They went as far as mummifying their pets, such as cats, to keep them company in the afterlife. Deliberate mummification is also found in ancient cultures in South America and Asia. The Chinchorro culture used to mummify all members of their society, regardless of their social value - a fact which still puzzles scientists up to this time.

The process of mummification is not always deliberate, in fact, in many cases it occurs naturally, especially in dry climates or at freezing temperatures. Naturally mummified bodies have been found in Africa as well as in Greenland and bog bodies (mummies naturally deposited in sphagnum bogs) have been found in many locations, including Europe.

In many instances, either deliberately or naturally, mummies and bog bodies are extremely well preserved either due to fitting climate conditions or to the highly developed mummifying techniques of ancient cultures, making them instantly recognizable as humans as ourselves. Mummies and Bog bodies are unique finds from our Prehistory. Silently, they carry information about our past which can be extracted using forensic anthropology techniques. They are silent witnesses of lives lived thousands of years ago, and by applying modern natural and medical scientific methods to bear, we can elucidate much about they way of life, their health, and indeed, their death.

The current boundaries of knowledge do not only lie in the future and on how much can be predicted, they also lie in the past and on how much can be reconstructed. Niels Lynnerup will focus on recent examinations of Danish bog bodies, sacrificed Inca children and mummies from Greenland and will reveal what information about the past we have acquired.

Afterwards, Viktors Garage takes the stage. They have just released the Album EUROPA on there own record company Aftenrutine which holds on to bands like Tidlige Armbånd and Musik til Mor. EUROPA is music that embraces trails of Gamelan, flipping Hiphop, mumbeling monk choirs and German Wording and occasionally extends to the 6th dimension.

Photo: Oakes & Gahlin, 2003

Talk by

Niels Lynnerup

Niels Lynnerup is currently the head of the Forensic Anthropology Unit at the Department of Forensic Medicine, University of Copenhagen. He is chief editor of the Scandinavian Journal of Forensic Medicine, and co-editor of Medicine, Science and the Law, and International Journal of Paleopathology. He also serves as an external lecturer at Barts, the London Medical School, and University of Dundee.

Niels lynnerup

Music by

Viktors Garage

Viktors Garage is composed of the musicians Anders Hjernø, Magnus Bak, Rasmus Bak and Mija Milovic. Their music ranges from Gamelan to a 6th dimension.

Viktors Garage