A team of Polish scientists has claimed to have discovered the world’s first embalmed Egyptian mummy after scanning a 2,000-year-old mummy. This is the only discovery of its kind.
The discovery was made by researchers of the Warsaw Mummy Project, according to an article published in the Journal of Archaeological Science on Thursday.
The project, which began in 2015, uses technology to examine artifacts housed in the National Museum of Warsaw. It was first thought that it was the mummy of a male priest, who had lived between the first century BC or the first century AD, but the scan has revealed that it is the mummy of a woman who was in the last stages of her pregnancy.
Experts behind the project believe it to be the remains of a woman in her 20s and/or 30s who belonged to a high-profile family and died during the first century BC. Announcing the discovery in an article published in the journal, they wrote that from the circumference of the fetus’s head, it can be estimated that the mother died of unknown causes, and her pregnancy would have been between 26 to 30 weeks old. “We do not know why these babies were not removed from the mother’s womb when the mummy was made,” said Wojciech Ejsmond, a scientist at the Polish Academy involved in the project, “That’s why this mummy is unique. We have not seen such cases before, which means our discovery is the world’s first pregnant mummy.”
Marzina Ozeirak Szelik has speculated that an abortion may have been attempted or it may have been connected to the belief in reincarnation at the time. Scientists now believe it belongs to an even older age and they are now trying to find the cause of its death. The mummy has not been opened, however, the scan shows a woman’s long curly hair on her shoulder.
According to the publication, this is the first case of the discovery of a preserved pregnant woman, which will provide an opportunity to research new possibilities related to pregnancy and motherhood in ancient times. According to the French news agency, University of Warsaw anthropologist and archaeologist Marzina Ozeirak Szelik, “Signs of three children were found in the womb of a dead pregnant woman (mummy)”.
According to reports, the team hopes to retrieve tissues from the Mummy’s body to determine the cause of her death. The scientists believe that the mummy is preserved in a very good condition but the damage to the clothes around her neck indicates that this was done by those who were looking for valuables. Experts say at least 15 items, including an “expensive set” of mummy-like amulets, have been found wrapped inside the mummy.
Moreover, the mummy was moved to Poland in the 19th century and was part of the University of Warsaw’s antiquities collection. The mummy was housed in the National Museum in 1917 and was presented to the public with a symbolic coffin.
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