Mortality and death have always fascinated humankind. Civilizations from all over the world have practiced mummification as a means of preserving life after death--a ritual which captures the imagination of scientists, artists, and public alike. For nearly everyone the words "pyramids" and "mummies" evoke images of ancient Egypt. Yet those intriguing cultural artifacts are by no means unique to the Land of the Pharoahs. As this collection vividly demonstrates, they are found around the world, including the Americas. Indeed, the oldest mummies in the world, and some of the most sophisticated anywhere, come not from the Nile Valley but from the Atacama Desert in Chile. Mummies have always been with us, and today we turn to them with ever more advanced and refined methods and learning their deep secrets.

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