How mummies were prepared: Ancient Egyptian pots spill secrets

Listen to the latest science news, with Nick Petrić Howe and Benjamin Thompson.

In this episode:

00:47 Chemical analysis of ancient embalming materials

Mummification was a significant part of ancient Egyptian culture but, despite decades of research, much is unknown about the substances and methods used during the process. Now a team have analysed the contents of ceramic vessels uncovered in an embalming workshop that dates back to around 600 BC. The results reveal that some substances assumed to be a single thing were actually mixtures, while some came from far outside Egypt, providing a clearer picture of ancient mummification practices.

Research article: Rageot et al.

News and Views: Recipes for ancient Egyptian mummification

09:11 Research Highlights

Modelling how fruit wrinkles as it ages, and a trove of ancient animal skulls suggest Neanderthals may have collected hunting trophies.

Research Highlight: A chilli’s wrinkles and a cherry’s dimples explained

Research Highlight: Neanderthals stashed dozens of animal skulls in a cave — but why?

11:28 The race to refine CAR-T therapies

CAR-T therapies are a type of cancer immunotherapy in which part of a person’s immune system – their T cells – are engineered to recognise and attack tumours. While these therapies have been shown to be effective at treating certain blood cancers, they are expensive and can have serious side effects. We hear about efforts to tackle these issues and even expand the range of diseases that CAR-T could be used to treat.

News Feature: The race to supercharge cancer-fighting T cells

19:36 Briefing Chat

We discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, why scientists need to agree on what time it is on the Moon, and the liquid-metal robots that can melt and re-form.

Nature News: What time is it on the Moon?

New Scientist: Metal robot can melt its way out of tight spaces to escape

Nature Video: The race to make a variant-proof COVID vaccine

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