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The Korean Journal of Pathology 2004;38(6): 394-400.
Paleopathologic Analysis of a Mummified Pregnant Woman of Papyung Yoon's Family.
Woon Yong Jeong, Bong Kyung Shin, Chul Hwan Kim, Insun Kim, Woo Rim Kim, Kwang Sik Choe, Chang Sub Uhm, Juck Joon Hwang, Han Kyeom Kim
1Department of Pathology, Korea University Medical School, Korea. hankkim@korea.ac.kr
2Korea Lung Tissue Bank, Seoul, Korea.
3Seoul Museum of History, Seoul, Korea.
4Korea University Museum, Seoul, Korea.
5Departments of Anatomy, Korea University Medical School, Seoul, Korea.
6Departments of Forensic Medicine, Korea University Medical School, Seoul, Korea.
ABSTRACT
BACKGROUND: A mummy is a dead body of a human being or an animal that has been preserved artificially or naturally from decaying. Because the natural environment of Korea isn't appropriate for mummification and Korean people haven't artificially made mummies, mummies were rarely studied in Korea. METHODS: On September 6, 2002, a well-preserved female mummy was found in the grave of a family in Kyunggi-do. She was submitted to a thorough autopsy examination along with the review of genealogical documents. RESULTS: The mummy died in winter. She was pregnant and the fetal head was observed at the vaginal orifice. The uterine wall was ruptured, and the peritoneum was discolored, probably by hemorrhage. Histologically, the gastric mucosa was well preserved. On the smear cytology of gastrointestinal material and the fluid from the coffin, pollens and parasitic eggs were observed. The woman seemed to be death from hypovolemic shock due to uterine rupture during the 2nd phase of labor. CONCLUSION: From this case, we concluded the causes of the woman's mummification included the cold and dry circumstance at the time of her death, and the thick mortared wall of the grave that completely isolated the body from the outside.
Key Words: Paleopathology; Mummies; Pregnant women; Autopsy