Human Remains; Mummified Woman

M13997a

On display

Mummified body of an adult woman with bandaging that carefully reproduces a human body with all limbs clearly visible. Very similar in appearance as M14048. The external bandages are discoloured and worn, after being much damaged when the Museum was destroyed by a fire-bomb in May 1941. The top of the head has not been wrapped and shows the close cropped natural hair, skin and parts of the bare skull. There are enough traces of paint left on the face to show that the eyes and mouth were painted on the outer covering. The forehead is encircled by a linen fillet which leaves the shaven crown of the head exposed. Each digit was bound separately, and it is clear from the remaining bandages that those about the feet were arranged in imitation of sandals, as on M14048 and on two mummies in the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden (AMM 24 and 25). Narrow strips of linen from the shoulders to the waist cross each other between the breasts, and there is a wide belt of painted linen at the waist. Much of the paint has since disappeared, but rosettes remain. A description of the mummy c. 1867 describes that around the waist was a painted belt with feather ornaments, a figure of Osiris with a papyrus sceptre and flower or wheel [rosette] designs. It is likely that there may have once been similar bands of linen around the knees, and also perhaps round the arms and ankles. An amulet frame is suspended from the neck (perhaps not originally so?) and rests on the breast. It is made from palm fibre tightly bound with linen thread and supports five rows of 16 small wooden gilded amulets, some of which are now missing. An almost identical collar bearing amulets is suspended about the neck of a Roman period mummy in the British Museum (EA 6714), and a rectangular frame of wicker-work lies across the chest of a mummy in the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden (AMM 24). The mummy is c. 5 ft. 3 in. in height and X-ray analysis in 1967 showed that the epiphyses of the iliac crests which suggests death at about the age of 19 years. This mummy came to England in a coffin of the 22nd Dynasty (early 8th century BC) which belonged to a singing woman of the temple of Amun, Aset (Isis) (M13997b). 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: There are no obvious fractures, and the mouth is closed. All teeth appear to be present, but there is evidence of dental attrition. The cervical spine appears to be intact. THORAX AND ABDOMEN: The skeleton is in a far better condition than that of M14047, and apart from crack fractures of the 5th, 6th and 7th right ribs and some slight sclerosis of the vertebral end-plates no abnormality is noted in the bony structures. However, the internal treatment of the body differs somewhat in comparison with M14047, the body cavities appearing empty save for what is either a linen pack or a mass of solidified resin in the lower part of the left hemithorax. The bones and joints of the pelvis appear within normal limits, but what seems to be a ball of linen occupies the pelvic cavity. ARMS: Extended. The palms of the hands, fingers extended, rest on the outer aspect of the thighs. No fractures or dislocations seen. LEGS: No fractures noted, but there is marked widening of both knee joints and evidence of recent restoration about the left knee. Either a line of arrested growth or an epiphyseal scar is shown in the lower end of either tibia. The bones of the feet appear normal, but the terminal phalanges of the 2nd and 3rd right toes are missing and the bones of the 4th and 5th right toes are absent from the mid-shaft of the proximal phalanges.