June 21, 2024


Imagination at work

Egyptian Pharaoh’s Mummy ‘Digitally Unwrapped’ After 3,500 Years

For the to start with time in more than three millennia, humanity has gazed upon the mortal continues to be of one particular nicely-preserved royal mummy.

That of Amenhotep I was found in a burial site close to the Egyptian town of Luxor more than a century in the past. But while the mummies of other ancient Egyptian pharaohs observed in the 19th and twentieth generations ended up opened and analyzed, Amenhotep I’s mummy was remaining untouched mainly because archaeologists ended up loath to disturb its close to-great wrappings and exquisitely embellished funerary head.

Now computed tomography (CT) scans have been employed to “digitally unwrap” the continue to-shrouded mummy, giving researchers specific facts about the pharaoh’s age and bodily appearance at the time of his loss of life more than 3,500 many years in the past. The scans also yield surprising new insights into the unusual situation bordering his mummification and burial.

“CT disclosed the facial area of Amenhotep I for the to start with time,” mentioned

Sahar Saleem,

a radiologist with Kasr Al-Ainy School of Drugs at Cairo College and direct creator of a new research describing the mummy. The results ended up published Tuesday in the journal Frontiers in Drugs.

The scans confirmed that Amenhotep I, who ruled the New Kingdom of Egypt during the 18th Dynasty from 1525 B.C. to 1504 B.C., was about 5 toes six inches tall. He experienced an oval facial area, a narrow chin and nose, protruding teeth, a pierced remaining ear and a circumcised penis. The mummy wore a beaded golden girdle and experienced 30 amulets in their linen wrappings, some produced of gold.

The pharaoh’s cranium, which include his teeth in superior affliction.


S. Saleem and Z. Hawass

The arms of Amenhotep I ended up probably folded, as opposed to the mummies of kings who preceded him. Their arms ended up stretched out together with their bodies.

“Amenhotep I’s mummy was the to start with to commence the vogue of crossed forearms in entrance of the upper body,” Dr. Saleem mentioned, adding that later New Kingdom pharaohs, which include Tutankhamen, experienced also been buried with arms folded. The New Kingdom lasted until eventually about 1070 B.C.

An before X-ray evaluation of the mummy prompt that Amenhotep I died in his 20s. But the CT scans, which present bones and comfortable tissues in good detail, indicated that he was about 35 at the time of his loss of life. No indications of sickness ended up observed in Amenhotep I’s joints, bones and teeth. Dr. Saleem mentioned the king may possibly have succumbed to an infection.

“This system presents us with a great deal more facts than conventional X-rays can,”

Salima Ikram,

an Egyptologist at the American College in Cairo who was not associated in the new research, mentioned of the CT scans employed to research the mummy.

The scans disclosed that Amenhotep I experienced been “lovingly reburied” by priests about four generations after his preliminary mummification and entombment, Dr. Saleem mentioned.

The reburial came after the priests fixed harm to the mummy seemingly brought about by tomb robbers looking for jewelry. The priests reattached the king’s head, employed pins to take care of the bandages on his remaining arm and proper foot and festooned the mummy with pink, yellow and blue flowers. Hieroglyphs inscribed on the coffin indicated that the priests experienced rewrapped the mummy.

“It is noteworthy that the priests of the twenty first Dynasty took such treatment in restoring the mummy that was seemingly vandalized by ancient tomb robbers, even placing amulets on the overall body and in the wrappings,” Dr. Ikram mentioned.

The mummy of Amenhotep I was one particular of dozens of royal mummies that the priests reburied in a cache in Deir el-Bahari, a intricate of tombs and temples close to Luxor, to keep them harmless from thieves. The locale of Amenhotep I’s original tomb is unfamiliar.

The scans confirmed that the pharaoh’s inner organs experienced been eliminated to reduce the overall body from rotting, while his heart—where ancient Egyptians considered the soul resided—was remaining inside of his upper body. Each methods ended up normal for the time. The king’s mind was shrunken but intact, unusual for royal mummies from the 18th Dynasty or later.

“Most royal mummies of the New Kingdom experienced their brains eliminated by the nose by a hooked metal instrument,” Dr. Saleem mentioned.

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