A shocking discovery was made by Polish researchers, officially reporting the only known case of the discovery of an Egyptian mummy – a woman buried pregnant.
The Warsaw Mummy Project researchers’ discovery was published Tuesday in the Journal of Archaeological Science. During the research work, which began in 2015, modern technologies were used to study artifacts stored in the National Museum in Warsaw.
Until recently, scientists believed that this mummy is a male priest. However, upon closer examination, it turned out that this is a woman in late pregnancy. Experts speak of a high-ranking young woman between the ages of 20 and 30 who died in the 1st century BC.
As noted, this is the only known case of a mummified pregnant woman. Scientists have taken and published for the first time X-rays of an ancient artifact: a fetus in the womb that was estimated to be between 26 and 30 weeks old.
“This is the biggest and most important find to date, which came as a complete surprise to us,” Wojciech Eismond of the Polish Academy of Sciences told The Associated Press.
When examining the mummy, four bundles were found in its abdominal cavity, presumably they were neatly removed and wrapped organs of a deceased woman, but the fetus was left in the mother’s womb. Scientists have not yet provided an explanation, but suggest that this is due to the idea of u200b u200bthe afterlife or the difficulties associated with removing the fetus.
Researchers from the Warsaw Mummy Project have already dubbed the find “The Mysterious Lady from the Warsaw National Museum”, as they cannot draw unambiguous conclusions about its origin. The mummy was reportedly donated to the University of Warsaw in 1826. The donor claimed that the object was found in the royal tombs of Thebes (in Egypt), but experts have some doubts about this.
Inscriptions on an ornate coffin and sarcophagus led 20th century scholars to believe that the mummy belonged to a priest named Khor-Dzhekhuti.
However, after careful study, scientists now believe that the mummy was “stolen” and taken away in the 19th century by antiquities dealers, when such actions were not uncommon. Experts assess the mummy as “well preserved”.
Researchers have found at least fifteen other items, including mummy-shaped amulets. Now they are busy establishing the causes of death of a mummified dignitary.