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如何制造木乃伊 – 译学馆
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如何制造木乃伊

How to make a mummy - Len Bloch

死亡和纳税是逃不掉的 那尸体腐败呢?
Death and taxes are famously inevitable,but what about decomposition?
见过木乃伊的人都知道
As anyone who’s seen a mummy knows,
古埃及人在尸体防腐上下了很大工夫
ancient Egyptians went to a lot of troubleto evade decomposition. So,
那成效如何呢?
how successful were they?
活细胞能够不断更新换代
Living cells constantly renew themselves.
而衰老的细胞会被专门的酶分解掉
Specialized enzymesdecompose old structures,
分解产物变成了新组织的养料
and the raw materialsare used to build new ones.
那人死后 情况又会发生怎样的变化呢?
But what happens when someone dies?
答案是死亡细胞无法自我更新
Their dead cells are no longerable to renew themselves,
但酶仍在不断分解组织
but the enzymeskeep breaking everything down.
因此想要保存尸体
So anyone looking to preserve a body
就必须在酶分解组织前处理尸体
needed to get ahead of those enzymes before the tissues began to rot.
神经细胞死的很快
Neurons die quickly,
这就是为什么古埃及木乃伊没有大脑
so brains were a lost causeto Ancient Egyptian mummifiers,
根据古希腊历史学家希罗多德的记载
which is why, accordingto Greek historian Herodotus,
埃及人先用一根钉子插入脑颅
they started the processby hammering a spike into the skull,
把大脑搅碎 使其从鼻子流出
mashing up the brain,flushing it out the nose
再往颅腔里灌松香来防止组织进一步分解
and pouring tree resins into the skullto prevent further decomposition.
大脑腐烂地最快 但内脏腐败后会非常糟糕
Brains may decay first,but decaying guts are much worse.
肝 胃和肠道内有消化酶和细菌
The liver, stomach and intestinescontain digestive enzymes and bacteria, which,
它们在人死亡后开始从内部分解尸体
upon death, start eatingthe corpse from the inside.
所以祭司会先将肺和腹部脏器取出
So the priests removed the lungsand abdominal organs first.
取肺时 容易伤到心脏
It was difficult to remove the lungswithout damaging the heart,
但是因为古埃及人相信心脏是灵魂寄居之处
but because the heart was believed to be the seat of the soul,
所以他们对待心脏时特别小心
they treated it with special care.
他们将脏器保存在广口瓶中
They placed the visceral organs in jars
浸泡在天然的泡碱溶液中
filled with a naturally occurring saltcalled natron.
像其他盐一样 泡碱能使消化酶失活
Like any salt, natron can prevent decayby killing bacteria
并杀死细菌 防止腐败
and preventing the body’s naturaldigestive enzymes from working.
泡碱还有其他盐不具备的能力
But natron isn’t just any salt.
它是两种碱性盐的混合物
It’s mainly a mixtureof two alkaline salts,
苏打粉和小苏打
soda ash and baking soda.
碱性盐对细菌杀伤性很大
Alkaline salts are especiallydeadly to bacteria.
它们还能将脂肪转化为坚硬的皂状物质
And they can turn fatty membranesinto a hard, soapy substance,
由此保存尸体结构
thereby maintainingthe corpse’s structure.
在处理完内脏后
After dealing with the internal organs,
祭司用装有泡碱的麻袋填充尸体内的空腔
the priest stuffed the body cavitywith sacks of more natron
并清洗尸体皮肤进行消毒
and washed it clean to disinfect the skin. Then,
之后尸体在被放在堆满更多泡碱的床上
the corpse was set in a bed of still more natron
为了做到皮肤的防腐 尸体会在此放置35天
for about 35 daysto preserve its outer flesh.
随着时间的推移
By the time of its removal,
碱盐将尸体内的体液吸出
the alkaline salts had sucked the fluid from the body
形成棕色硬块
and formed hard brown clumps.
虽然这时的尸体没有腐尸味
The corpse wasn’t putrid,
但也并不好闻
but it didn’t exactly smell good, either. So,
因此祭司在尸体上涂松香来密封
priests poured tree resin overthe body to seal it,
并使用含有松油的蜡状混合物为尸体按摩
massaged it with a waxy mixturethat included cedar oil,
再用亚麻布把尸体包上
and then wrapped it in linen. Finally,
最后将尸体放入一套密封木棺中
they placed the mummyin a series of nested coffins
有时甚至是石棺
and sometimes even a stone sarcophagus.
那木乃伊的防腐效果如何呢?
So how successful werethe ancient Egyptians at evading decay?
严格来说 木乃伊并不是完整的尸体
On one hand, mummies are definitely notintact human bodies.
大脑被捣碎并冲出
Their brains have been mashed upand flushed out,
器官也像腊肠一样被“腌”了起来
their organs have been removedand salted like salami,
经过脱水的尸体只有原来一半的体重
and about half of their remaining body mass has been drained away. Still,
然而 被保存下来的木乃伊依然令人惊叹
what remainsis amazingly well-preserved.
两千年之后的今日 科学家仍然可以对木乃伊验尸
Even after thousands of years, scientists can perform autopsieson mummies
以确认其死因
to determine their causes of death,
甚至可能提取到DNA样本
and possibly even isolate DNA samples.
木乃伊为我们提供了许多信息
This has given us new information.
比方说
For example, it seems
在古埃及空气污染是一个很严重的问题
that air pollution was a serious problem in ancient Egypt,
这也许是因为他们在室内生火烤面包
probably because of indoor firesused to bake bread.
心血管疾病和肺结核也很常见
Cardiovascular disease was also common,as was tuberculosis.
这样说来 古埃及人的防腐工作还是很成功的
So ancient Egyptians were somewhatsuccessful at evading decay. Still,
然而和死亡一样 纳税也是逃不掉的
like death, taxes are inevitable.
运输木乃伊时 他们被当作咸鱼征税
When some mummies were transported,they were taxed as salted fish.

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古埃及人制作木乃伊的过程

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