2,200-Year-Old Mummy Shows Unhealthy Ancient Egyptians A 2,200-year-old mummy that recently went on display in Israel turned out to be a pretty unhealthy guy.
NPR logo

2,200-Year-Old Mummy Shows Unhealthy Ancient Egyptians

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/488027801/488027802" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
2,200-Year-Old Mummy Shows Unhealthy Ancient Egyptians

2,200-Year-Old Mummy Shows Unhealthy Ancient Egyptians

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/488027801/488027802" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

What's the hieroglyphic symbol for couch potato? A 2,200-year-old Egyptian mummy went on display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem this week. His name was Iret-hor-irou, the protective Eye of Horus. He was an Egyptian priest, 5 foot 6, who was probably between 30 and 40 years of age when he died, according to tests run on the linen in which he's been wrapped since the second century B.C. The priest seems to have suffered from a series of ailments, which we think of as afflicting people who may have a little too much idle time on their hands - osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and lack of vitamins from the sun.

Osteoporosis is a disease that's characteristic of the 20th century when people don't work so hard. Galit Bennett, who curated the mummy exhibit, told the Associated Press, we are glued to screens. We were very surprised that there were people who didn't do physical work and that it affected their bodies like this man here. The mummy also reportedly has tooth decay. Were there ancient Egyptian Twinkies?

Copyright © 2016 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.