A new analysis of beef ribs found buried with an elite Egyptian couple has revealed that the meat was prepared as if for eating, then wrapped up and preserved with a rare balm to give it extra flavor.
Scientists from the University of Bristol and the American University in Cairo tested the chemical composition of the rib meat found in the tomb of powerful courtier Yuya and his wife Tjuiu. They were the parents of Queen Tiye and the great-grandparents of Tutankhamun, and are believed to have died around 1375 BC. Their tomb was, until the discovery of Tutankhamun’s, one of the most spectacular ever found in the Valley of the Kings, despite Yuya not even being a pharaoh.
The discovery of mummified meat in ancient Egyptian tombs isn’t new, but the chemical analysis gives a fresh insight to just how lovingly afterlife meals were prepared. The balm was a mixture of fat, beeswax, and Pistacia resin, a precious plant extract rarely found in human mummification. It was considered a luxury item in ancient Egypt and may explain why the couple looked so remarkably healthy when they were found!
Source: Royal Society of Chemistry