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Subject: Mummy


From: Niccolo Caldararo <caldararo>
Date: Tuesday, November 14, 2000
This is just a quick reply to Zubair concerning the request for
information about the preservation and analysis of a recently
discovered mummy. I do not know what the conditions you have
available for the preservation of this unique object, but I would
recommend against using formalin.  We have been studying ancient DNA
in our laboratory and there is a substantial literature indicating
that formalin will cause accelerated degradation of DNA.  Thus if
you were planning any DNA studies of this object formalin would
result in a very compromised subject for study.  I think it would be
difficult to give advice on what steps to take without an
understanding of the conditions under which the mummy was found and
its present condition.  I might assume it was discovered in a dry or
arid area given my poor knowledge of Pakistan's environmental and
climatic variation.  Stasis of environmental conditions certainly
would seem to be in order.  On the other hand, if found in cold
conditions, the recent experience with the Ice Man in Italy would be
of interest and hopefully their experience might be of value.

Niccolo Caldararo
Dept of Anthropology

                  Conservation DistList Instance 14:29
                 Distributed: Monday, November 20, 2000
                       Message Id: cdl-14-29-003
Received on Tuesday, 14 November, 2000

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