Human Remains; Mummified Body


Mummified remains of an elderly female, donated to the Museum in 1861 within an Eighteenth Dynasty coffin from a much earlier burial. The outer wrappings are still in place, held by retaining bandages at the neck and feet, but they are damaged and discoloured. X-rayed in November 1966 with the following interpretation of the radiographs: “This mummy can only be described as a disjointed jumble of bones. The ribs, spinal column and pelvis are in a state of utter confusion and the head is lying free. Many loose teeth are scattered amongst the disorganised bones, and a cervical vertebra lies in the region of the left ankle. It is, however, evident that the arms had been placed in the extended position. The bones themselves appear slight and rather decalcified, and there are no obvious fractures. One of the loose vertebrae shows slight arthritic changes. No lines of arrested growth noted. The impression given is that the skeleton represents the remains of a slight, elderly female. No soft tissue remnants are visible” (Gray and Slow, 1968 p. 28). In a letter from Dora Philip to William Crosfield on 13 April 1861 she writes, "there was a cut made under the shoulders to test its reality, and, if exposed to the humid air of our climate it might fall to pieces: a savant who examined it last Saturday, said, 'it must be at least 3000 years old, and must have been the body of a person of very high rank indeed for it was a mummy of the first class'.