Human Remains; Mummified Body of Ankhesenaset



Ankh-es-en-aset’s parents chose a name for her that means ‘she lives for Isis’ in the hope the goddess would protect her. Ankh-es-en-aset’s husband was a priest called Djedkhonsiufankh and his mummy and coffins are today in the British Museum (EA6662). Like other women from high status families Ankh-es-en-aset became a Chantress of Amun who provided musical accompaniment for the daily rituals in the great temple of Karnak. Her mummy is encased within a cartonnage mummy case of glued linen and plaster, laced shut at the back. Hot scented oil was poured over the coffin, perhaps as part of the funeral rituals. It has now darkened and hides much of the brightly painted decoration. X-rays and CT scans revealed that Ankh-es-en-aset’s internal organs were removed then wrapped in linen and returned to the body. Her brain has been removed and the skull was packed loosely with linen. Artificial eyes of stone or ceramic have been placed over her eye sockets which had been stuffed with linen. The gilded face of her cartonnage coffin was damaged in 1941 during the wartime bombing of Liverpool. A cover placed at the foot end of the coffin was loose in 1867 and then after the 1941 fire has remained unlocated. The 1852 catalogue of Mayer's collection describes the mummy as being of a "frequent way of embalming, first enwrapping the body with bandages, and afterwards covering the whole with bitumen". In 1877 the British Museum's first Egyptologist, Dr Samuel Birch, visited the collection to provide advice for the curator, Charles Gatty. Dr Birch said the coffin (M13999) and cartonnage case (M14000) did not belong together. Mr Gatty also noted that Dr Birch “thought very highly of this coffin”. From then until 2008 the mummy of Padiamunnebnesuttauwy (M14050) was, by error, kept inside coffin M13999. In the British Museum's collection there is a similar cartonnage encased mummy of a priest called Djedkhonsiufankh who in all probability is the husband of Ankhesenaset (British Museum number EA 6662, which is also from the Joseph Sams collection). a sample of gesso and the black resin was taken by Margot Wright for analysis in June 1980 (results are unknown).