Polish scientists said Thursday that they discovered a pregnant egyptian mummy, the first in this state in the world, as they carried out X-rays of his remains from 2,000 years at the National Museum in Warsaw.
“My husband Stanislaw, an Egyptologist, and I, examining the radiographic images, we notice in the uterus of the deceased woman a family picture for parents of three children: a little foot! “Marzena Ozarek-Szilke, an anthropologist and archaeologist at the University of Warsaw, told reporters.
“We do not know why the fetus was not removed from the womb of the deceased during its mummification,” said Wojciech Ejsmond of the Polish Academy of Sciences, who is also involved in the project.
Abdominal area of the mummy, with charms over the navel area.Photo: Journal of Archaeological Science.
“This mummy is really unique. We did not find similar cases. This means that ‘our’ mummy is the only one found in the world with a fetus” inside, he said.
Ozarek-Szilke hypothesized that it was intended to “hide the pregnancy (…) or, perhaps, this had a certain meaning linked to beliefs about rebirth in the afterlife. “
According to the study of the hieroglyphs inscribed on the sarcophagus, at first it was considered that the mummy was that of a priest who lived between the 1st century BC. C. and the 1st century d. C.
Pictures of the pregnant mummy.
Scientists, however, now believe that it could be even older and are trying to find out the possible cause of its death. The mummy was not opened, but one of the X-rays shows that the woman had long, curly hair, which came down to her shoulders.
Experts from the Polish Academy of Sciences, working as part of the Warsaw Mummies Project aimed at scanning all mummies in museums, detailed more about the woman’s past, believed to be in her 20s and 30s at the time. of his death.
Scientists, however, now believe that it could be even older and are trying to find out the possible cause of its death.
Through a combination of CT scans and X-rays, the team discovered the remains of a fetus, about 28 weeks old, inside the woman. Taking into account that the person died 2,000 years ago, it is the oldest mummy corresponding to a pregnant woman.
This discovery was announced in the latest issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science, a peer-reviewed journal.
The team discovered the remains of a fetus of about 28 weeks.
“It is the first known case of an embalmed body of a pregnant woman (…) This opens up new possibilities for research on pregnancy in ancient times and practices related to motherhood,” the article points out.
The mummy was brought to Poland in the 19th century and is part of the collection of antiquities at the University of Warsaw. It has been kept in the National Museum since 1917 and is exhibited in the sarcophagus.