Making an animal model for Korean mummy studies
Oh, Chang Seok; Shin, Dong Hoon
The recent findings of a series of thorough investigations into Korean mummies notwithstanding, many questions on the exact mechanism of the mummification process remain. For the purposes of a more comprehensive understanding of this mechanism, we employed an animal model involving Sprague-Dawley rats and miniature lime-soil-mixture barrier (LSMB)-surrounded Joseon tombs constructed in our lab. The results showed that long-duration burial in these LSMB tombs successfully induced animal mummification. Indeed, our gross and microscopic examinations confirmed that the rats were perfectly mummified in the manner of actual Korean mummies dating to the Joseon period. In light of the fact that the extent of mummification was not remarkable in other miniature tombs without LSMB, it seemed that the LSMB is somehow closely correlated with mummification in Korea. In the future, use of the present animal models and miniature tombs no doubt will experimentally verify the many possible factors operative in the specific mechanism of mummification in Korea.