Human Remains; Mummified Body with Portrait card

Human Remains; Mummified Body with Portrait

On display


Mummy of a young boy with decorative wrapping and a painted panel portrait. The bandaging was described by the excavator, Flinders Petrie, as the most perfect example of the complex system of diagonal winding. The colours have now faded, but the thirteen layers were, from the outside, gilt, red, white, red, white, red, white, blue, white, red, white, brown and white. No studs were necessary to hold the bandages in place. The portrait is damaged, but was originally very fine. It is probably that the damage was due to weathering and occurred during the time that elapsed between the preparation of the mummy and the actual burial (Shore, 1962). An amulet, probably metallic, lies within the mouth on the surface of the tongue. The excavator, Professor Flinders Petrie thought that the face was that of a girl, but radiographs prove that it is the portrait of a very young boy. The mummy was CT scanned is 2012 - see Robert Loynes, ‘Prepared for eternity : a study of human embalming techniques in ancient Egypt using computerised tomography scans of mummies’ (Oxford, 2015). 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: SKULL: Flexed. The mouth is closed, and all teeth appear to be present. There are no obvious fractures, but some granular material seems to be present in the left side of the cranial cavity. An amulet, probably metallic, lies within the mouth on the surface of the tongue. THORAX & ABDOMEN: The body cavities appear to be free from packing material. Owing to tight bandaging, the thoracic cage shows evidence of compression, the ribs being dislocated at their costo-vertebral articulations but not fractured. The spinal column appears within normal limits, and the intervertebral disc spaces are not opaque. PELVIS: The bones and joints appear normal, but a saucer-shaped object (almost certainly made of the same material as the amulet within the mouth) has been placed over the genitalia. ARMS: Extended. The palms of the hands, fingers extended, rest upon the anterior aspect of the thighs. No fractures or dislocations seen. LEGS: The bones and joints appear within normal limits. No lines of arrested growth, fractures or dislocations seen.