The ancient Egyptian embalmers made every effort to send the deceased into the Afterlife with a complete body. The importance of this is attested in religious texts. The lecture first shows the variety of embalmers' restorations that have been found on Egyptian mummies including the two rather special examples, two right big toe restorations. Academic papers had been written about these possibly being functional toes, that is, they were used during the lifetime of the deceased. They showed signs of wear and their design was certainly suggesting that these indeed could have been effective replacements for missing toes. One example was found strapped onto the foot of its female owner.
Experimental archaeology is a complex process as the lecture points out. By co-opting contemporary big toe amputees and making replicas to the same design and testing them in a gait laboratory I was able to show that both examples functioned very well indeed. The importance of this research puts the dawn of prosthetic medicine firmly in the hands of the ancient Egyptians and back some 600 years earlier than first thought
Speaker: Jacky Finch
Jacky Finch was a senior Science teacher before she decided to study under Prof Rosalie David at Manchester University's KNH Centre for Forensic and Medical Egyptology. She did an MSc then PhD completing in 2009. She had 5 years as a Visiting Scientist at KNH but now she is an Independent Researcher. She has published in the Lancet and in the Journal of Prosthetics and Orthotics. She even appeared on television for France Channel 2. Their programme makers came over to Manchester to interview me and discuss her PhD. As well as speaking at conferences she has spoken to societies on a wide range of topics. She is currently researching for a book due out end of 2018.
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