Archaeologists find the first case of a pregnant Egyptian mummy

Photo: (Warsaw Mumies Project)

Archaelogists from Poland find the first case of an Egyptian mummy of a pregnant woman

Specialists discovered that the body allegedly of a high priest was actually a 26-28 week pregnant woman

May 01, 2021, (EFE).- The Polish archaeologists who discovered the mummy of a pregnant Egyptian woman a few days ago not only do not know her identity, but also many of the details about her discovery and transport to Poland in 1826.

The three archaeologists, who are part of the Warsaw Mummies Project, were analyzing the Egyptian background of the National Museum when they discovered that the body identified as a high priest named Hor-Djehuti, was actually a 26-28 weeks pregnant woman. , whose identity is unknown.

The anthropologist and archaeologist from the University of Warsaw Marzena Ozarek-Szilke explained to the Polish media that the team was ” about to close the project and send the publication” with the data obtained in 2015.

Then a scan of the embalmed body not only revealed that it was a woman: her husband Stanislaw Ozarek-Szilke, also an Egyptologist, identified by studying the X-ray images “a familiar image” for all those parents, “a small foot (in the belly of the mummy) ”.

“For unknown reasons, the fetus was not removed from the abdomen of the deceased during mummification,” said Wojciech Ejsmond, from the Institute of Mediterranean and Oriental Cultures of the Polish Academy of Sciences, who confirmed his finding by saying that “our mummy is the only one recognized so far in the world with a fetus in the womb “.

Ejsmond, who placed the mother’s age at the time of her death between 20 and 30 years, considered that the pregnancy could have contributed in some way to her death, although she pointed out that “it is no secret that the mortality rate, especially during pregnancy and childbirth, it was very high in those times ”.

For now, the sex of the fetus is unknown,  and its poor state of preservation raises many difficulties in this regard, although the discovery “sheds light on an unexplored aspect of ancient Egyptian burial customs and interpretations of pregnancy in the context of the religion of ancient Egypt ”, as published by the scientific team.

The Warsaw Mummies Project is one of the most important in the world in the field of Egyptology and its creators are three doctoral students from the University of Warsaw: Kamila Braulinska, Marzena Ozarek-Szilke, and Wojciech Ejsmond.

Six years ago, scientists proposed to the National Museum in Warsaw to carry out a comprehensive analysis of the animal mummies stored in the museum’s funds, but soon decided that “as we had the means and the technical capacity, it would be a shame not to extend the study. to human mummies, ”explained Braulinska.

The mummy that was identified as the body of Hor-Djehuti, as the inscription on the sarcophagus that contained it read, was donated to the museum in 1826 by Jan Wezyk-Rudzki, a Polish painter, architect, and sculptor believed to be bought from Count Stanislaw Kostka Potocki.

When the mummy was first exhibited in the halls of the National Museum in 1917, newspapers of the time described it as “so beautiful that no other museum has one like it.”

Source: ArtNet News



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