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The mummy of a 3,500-year-old Egyptian king “digitally unwrapped”




Decorated with flower garlands and a seductive wooden face mask, the mummy was so fragile that Archaeologists had never dared to expose the remains, making it the only Egyptian royal mummy found in the 19th and 20th centuries that had not yet been opened for study.

Using non-invasive digital techniques, Egyptian scientists have used three-dimensional computed tomography (CT) to develop the 3,500-year-old mummy and study its contents.

“By digitally unwinding … the mummy and” taking off “its virtual layers: the face mask, the bandages, and the mummy itself, we could study this well-preserved pharaoh in unprecedented detail,” said Dr. Sahar Saleem. professor of radiology at the Faculty of Medicine of Cairo University and radiologist of the Egypt Mummy Project, in a press release.

Saleem and his colleagues discovered that Amenhotep I was about 35 years old and 169 centimeters (5.5 feet) tall when he died. He was also circumcised and had healthy teeth. About 30 amulets and a unique gold band were found inside the wrappers.

The pharaoh also had a narrow chin, a small, narrow nose, curly hair, and slightly protruding upper teeth, Saleem said. His study found no injuries or disfigurements that explained the cause of his death.

Amenhotep I ruled Egypt for about 21 years, between 1525 and 1504 BC. He was the second king of the eighteenth dynasty and had a very peaceful reign during which he built many temples.

Pharaoh's skull, including his teeth, were in excellent condition.

Investigators also found that the mummy had suffered multiple post-mortem wounds probably inflicted by ancient grave robbers, who, according to hieroglyphic texts, priests and embalmers attempted to repair later in the 21st dynasty. more than four centuries after being first mummified and buried.

Before studying the mummy, Saleem had thought that these priests and embalmers mentioned in the texts might have unwrapped the mummy to reuse some items as amulets for later pharaohs, which was common practice at the time. But it wasn’t like that, he said.

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“We show that, at least for Amenhotep I, the priests of the 21st dynasty lovingly repaired the wounds inflicted by grave robbers, restored their mummy to its former glory, and kept the magnificent jewels and amulets in place.” , Saleem said in the statement.

The research was published in the journal Frontiers in Medicine on Tuesday.