Even the earliest records of modern humanity illustrate the connection of human mortality to nature.
When scientists in Luxor, Egypt opened a sarcophagus in the summer of 2016, they anticipated uncovering bits of pottery, jewelry, and other burial relics native to the infamous Valley of the Kings.
What they found, however, was a tangle of fabric and rusty-colored dehydrated flowers woven together in laurels that looked likely to crumble to dust if touched. The flowers were likely the remains of garlands, often entwined with gold strips, that ancient Egyptian royals wore around their shoulders in both life and death. Floral hieroglyphics frequently decorate the tombs of pharaohs, queens and nobles at the site just south of Luxor, but this discovery reveals more insight into an intimate burial ritual involving memorial floral design.