This project aims to study, investigate and promote the anthropological collection of Egyptian skulls held by the Museum of Natural History. It consists of twenty-three finds that contain genetic material inside them, an organic residue of dark color that in the historical catalog of the collection is called "balsamic pitch".
The starting point is the time contextualisation of the finings, through the verification and integration of available information from the museum catalogues of the time the material was acquired. Subsequently, the findings may be the subject of other anthropological analyses that will help to provide information on the human community of origin. Paleomolecular analysis (analysis of ancient DNA) will allow us to better understand the genetic variability in Ancient Egypt and ancient Africa in general.
The collection thus enhanced will represent a properly contextualized biological archive that can be used by other scientific disciplines as well as by the public through specific dissemination methods.
Heading the project is the Director of the Department of Biology of the University of Florence, prof. David Caramelli. The other participants to the project are the Museum of Natural History - Anthropology and Ethnology Section with Monica Zavattaro as scientific coordinator - and the National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN), the Laboratory of Nuclear Techniques for the Environment and Cultural Heritage (LABEC), with Mariaelena Fedi as its scientific coordinator.
Contact: Monica Zavattaro