A mummy is a body, human or animal, whose skin and organs have been preserved by either intentional or incidental exposure to chemicals, extreme cold (ice mummies), very low humidity, or lack of air when bodies are submerged in bogs, so that the recovered body will not decay further if kept in cool and dry conditions.
In addition to the well-known mummies of Ancient Egypt, deliberate mummification was a feature of several ancient cultures in areas of South America and Asia which have very dry climates.
There are more than 1000 mummies in Xinjiang, China.
(See also: Mummia.) In English "mummy" as a term for a "medical preparation of the substance of mummies" is recorded from c.
1400, earlier than the sense of a complete body, with Richard Hakluyt in 1599 complaining that "these dead bodies are the Mummy which the Phisistians and Apothecaries doe against our willes make us to swallow".
The OED defines a mummy as "the body of a human being or animal enbalmed (according to the ancient Egyptian or some analogous method) as a preparation for burial", citing sources from 1615 onwards, later than the first uses of other senses that include ground up mummy used as "a medicinal preparation", which dates to c. However sense 3c: "A human or animal body desiccated by exposure to sun or air.
Also applied to the frozen carcase of an animal imbedded in prehistoric ice", is cited to Chamber's Cyclopaedia, 1727–41, and the Victorian zoologist Francis Trevelyan Buckland.
Mummy 32751 was previously nicknamed "Ginger" for its hair color, but this practice was stopped in 2004, in order to afford more dignity to human remains.
Mummy #32751 was an adult male; the exact age at death is uncertain.
It was apparently preserved by direct contact with the dry desert sand, though it is uncertain whether the mummification was intended.
Pottery vessels were recovered from the grave, but their significance is uncertain.
From the Middle Kingdom onwards, embalmers used salts to remove moisture from the body.