Ultramicroscopic study on the hair of newly found 15th century mummy in Daejeon, Korea

Byung Soo Chang, Chang Sub Uhm, Chang Hyun Park, Han Kyeom Kim, Gui Young Lee, Han Hee Cho, Yoon Hee Chung, Dong Hoon Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Recent reports on the medieval mummies in Korea have been an invaluable source for the studies on the physical characteristics of medieval Koreans. Though the histological observations on the medieval mummy found in Korea were actively reported by researchers, it could not be said that all the queries on the mummies had been completely answered at the present time. In this study, we tried to add the novel data on the ultramicroscopic characteristics of the hair taken from the recently discovered 15th century mummy, the oldest one ever found in Korea. Even comparing with the hair from living individual, the hair of 15th century mummy showed very intact appearances during observation with electron microscope because the scales on the surface of the mummified hair were not damaged, which were not easily maintained even in living individuals. As to the cause of the excellent preservation of 15th century mummified hair, the presence of surface coat on the hair should be considered. That is, just like the complete sealing effect of lime-soil mixture barrier around the coffin, the presence of the surface coat including calcium and sodium might inhibit the water or fungal infiltrations into the hair shaft.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-445
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Anatomy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Sept 4
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
All the investigations on the newly found mummy found in Daejeon (Hakbong Mummy) were mainly superintended by the Research Team for Medieval Mummy in Daejeon , Korea University (chaired by Dr. Han Kyeom Kim, Department of Pathology, Korea University Medical School), whom we specially thank for their generous decision on the supply of the samples to our laboratory. The mummy is currently displayed in Gyeryongsan Natural History Museum, Korea. This study was supported by Korea Research Foundation Grant (KRF-2003-I01485-E00006).


  • Cortex
  • Electron microscope
  • Hair
  • Medieval
  • Medulla
  • Mummy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Developmental Biology


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