Human Remains; Mummified Body of Nesshutefnut card

Human Remains; Mummified Body of Nesshutefnut

On display


In 1905, John Garstang, Harold Jones and a team of 80 others spent three months excavating the site of Hissaya, a burial place used in the Ptolemaic and Roman Period, mainly by priests of Horus from the temple city of Edfu, which is 20km to the north of the site. Most graves in the cemetery had been robbed, except for the intact burial of Nesshutefnut, a priest of the god Horus. Nesshutefnut’s mummy was adorned with brightly painted and gilded cartonnage and placed within a black painted coffin. Placed beside the coffin was a canopic chest, a stela and a Ptah-Sokar-Osiris statue. Nes-shu-tef-nut’s mummy was damaged when the Museum was bombed in 1941. X-rays in 1966 revealed that very unusually, the feet of the mummy had been dislocated by the embalmers and placed on top of each other, facing right. The head and feet of Nesshutefnut’s mummy were enclosed in painted cartonnage, and together with the cartonnage panels laid on the body, they were held in place by narrow linen strips. This binding was carefully done to ensure that all the painted scenes were fully visible. The funerary garlands were then laid on the mummy. These consisted of strings, probably of palm fibre, threaded with palm fronds, and were kept in position above the horizontal bandages by a vertical string at each side, the whole resembling a rope ladder in its arrangement. The mummy was damaged in May 1941 when the museum was destroyed by a fire. The garlands probably disappeared first [since found] but the retaining bandages have also been lost together with the painted cartonnage that enclosed the feet. The cartonnage that remains is brittle, but the scenes are still clear. They are painted in red, blue and gold on a white ground. The mask is gilded, and in the centre of the elaborate pectoral are seated figures of the four Sons of Horus. On the apron, below a winged scarab, are three registers of gods and funerary deities. The uppermost of these registers is a duplicate of the scene on the wooden stela with the deceased on the right making an offering to Osiris and other gods. The register below represents four deities, including Isis and Nephthys, seated on each side of the djed pillar of Osiris. The outer bandages of the mummy itself are coated with blackened resin. The mummy was X-rayed by PHK Gray in November 1966 and the interpretation of the radiograph images below is taken from the 1968 publication of the study: Presumably male, aged 15-17 at death. The body must have been in a state of decomposition when the necropolis workers set about their task. Their manipulations appear to have been most macabre. For some reason they lengthened the body by breaking both hips and pulling the legs downwards, and then shortened it by removing both feet.