MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

May 4, 2013

MPL to start its summer dig with mummy exploration

By Liz Hanley
Books & More

— This summer your children will discover the world beneath their feet as they “Dig Into Reading” at the Muskogee Public Library. They will examine plants, animals, fossils, learn about dinosaurs and maybe discover some buried treasure locked up in books. This summer's theme is geared toward science and the study of the earth. We hope that by summer’s end they will no longer consider the earth “just dirt.”

Let's begin our journey by going to tombs hidden inside stone structures called pyramids.

They were built thousands of years ago to house dead leaders who were specially preserved to take the next journey after death.

When we think of mummies, we think of the pyramids revealing the beautiful sarcophagus hidden away in secret rooms. Rooms where treasures and objects of that time period have been kept. On the walls would be stories of the departed's lifetime accomplishments. Such tombs were sealed off and guarded by priests and soldiers to keep grave robbers at bay. This body was to be preserved forever because Egyptians loved life. They wanted to be sure their loved one had enough personal treasures to enjoy in the next life.

The tomb of the boy king Tut-Ankh-Amen was discovered by Harold Carter and Lord Carnarvron in 1917. You can read about this exciting discovery in “Mummies” by Georgess McHargue.

 Just how were mummies made? In“Wrapped for an Eternity” by Mildred Mastin Pace, you can go through the process. Mummies are studied by archaeologists who look at the dried human remains they contain.

Although the mummies of ancient Egypt  are the most famous , they are not the only ones in the world.  In “Tales Mummies Tell” by Patricia Lauber, we learn that mummies can be natural or manmade. This is done by rapid drying before decay can set in. Mummies naturally made are found in the desert and in polar regions or in bogs where certain bacteria won't destroy them.

If you are looking for an adventure, follow Dr. Isabel Soto in the graphic novel “Uncovering Mummies” by Agnieszka Biskup. Dr. Soto, who is trying to rescue a kidnapped colleague, travels through a time portal to 1500 B.C. She learns about the process of mummification, and you will find out what organ in the body the Egyptians believed was the most important. They also hid things inside mummy wrappings, and you will find out why.

The oldest manmade mummies were made by the Chinchorros about 7,000 years ago. In “Mummies: A National Geographic Kids Reader” by Elizabeth Carney, we discover that they mummified everyone who died. There are only two mummies left from this culture, which vanished 3,000 years ago.Younger readers will enjoy the pictures from this fact-filled book.  

If you enjoy creepy pictures and scary facts, read Steven Krensky’s “The Mummy.” We even discover that some great leaders of the 19th century were mummified!

Apparently there is more than one way to wrap a mummy. In his book “Mummies,” John Malam compares mummies from around the world and their techniques. It will also give you more interesting facts and up-to-date pictures with further exploration from websites, museums and scientists.

Mummies have a story to tell. We have plenty of books for you to enjoy, including “Smelly Old History: Mouldy Mummies” by Mary Dobson, in which you can scratch and sniff your way through history.

As you start planning your summer, we hope you plan to read some great books and attend some of the programs offered at the Muskogee Public Library.

Liz Hanley is the children’s librarian at the Muskogee Public Library. Reach her at (918) 682-6657 or readingliz@eok.lib.ok.us.