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Unwrapped mummy of a woman

British Museum

British Museum

This mummy was originally identified as Ankhpakhered, son of Ankhefenkhons on the basis of the inscription on the coffin. However, when it was unwrapped in the nineteenth century, or 'unrolled' as it was then termed, the body turned out to be that of a woman, even though the name Ankhpakhered indicated that the owner was male.

The woman was quite short, and elderly. Her hair was short and grey, but had been coloured brown by the embalming process. The body was brushed with resin, leaving it in an unusually good state of preservation. X-rays of the bones show no signs of disease, arthritis or fractures.

The woman's brain had been removed through the left nostril, using an instrument that pierced the ethmoid bone. On her left side was an embalming incision, which had been left open. Her heart, as was customary, was left in place. Her other internal organs had been removed, and then replaced after mummification and wrapping, with four wax figures of the sons of Horus. Her lower abdomen was packed with resin, linen and wood dust. This treatment of the internal organs and packing of the body first appears in ancient Egypt in the 21st Dynasty (about 1069-945 BC).

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  • Title: Unwrapped mummy of a woman
  • Physical Dimensions: Length: 152.00cm; Diameter: 14.20cm (headrest); Circumference: 43.80mm (headrest); Weight: 422.00g (headrest)
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Subject: ancient egyptian deity
  • Registration number: 1893,1114.1
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot Thebes
  • Period/culture: 26th Dynasty
  • Material: human tissue; linen; wax
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Donated by Sutherland
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