The Mummy 1932

The Dairy Arts Center Boulder, CO


Dr. Dennis Van Gerven

Professor of Anthropology, University of Colorado

The Mummy— The Mummies of Ancient Nubia

Dr. Dennis Van Gerven, known for his extensive collection of mummified human remains from ancient populations of the Nile Valley, spoke about what it is like to be an anthropologist and how he uses forensics to gain knowledge when disturbing the dead.

The Dairy Arts Center Boulder, CO

Film Synopsis

A living mummy stalks the beautiful woman he believes is the reincarnation of his lover.

A team of British archaeologists, led by Sir Joseph Whemple (Arthur Byron), discovers the mummified remains of the ancient Egyptian prince Imhotep (Boris Karloff), along with the legendary scroll of Thoth. When one of the archaeologists recites the scroll aloud, Imhotep returns to life and escapes. Several years later, Imhotep has taken on the guise of a wealthy man, as he searches Egypt for his lost love, whom he believes has been reincarnated as the beautiful Helen Grosvenor (Zita Johann). This classic early sound horror-romance inspired a wave of mummy films in the 1940s, as well as a contemporary adaptation.

About the Speaker

Dr. Dennis Van Gerven received his BA in anthropology from the University of Colorado in 1968. He did his graduate work at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and received his MA in 1969 and his PhD in 1971. He has been a member of the Anthropology Department at the University of Colorado since 1974 and is currently director of the Arts and Sciences Honors Program. 

Dr. Van Gerven teaches in areas of human origins, human adaptability, skeletal biology, and quantitative methods. He is particularly committed to undergraduate teaching through his introductory courses as well as courses in the Honors Program. Dr. Van Gerven is a two-time winner of the Boulder Faculty Assembly Teaching Award, he has also won the SOAR teaching award, the Honors Program teaching award, the Excellence in Education Outstanding Professor Award, and is the 1998–1999 Carnegie Foundation Colorado Teacher of the Year.

Dr. Van Gerven has published widely on aspects of health and disease in ancient populations of the Nile Valley and is known for his extensive collection of mummified human remains from Sudanese Nubia housed at the University of Colorado. He is presently continuing an extensive analysis of mummified human remains from the Medieval site of Kulubnarti. His interests include paleopathology, paleodemography, and biocultural reconstruction.