Human Remains; Mummy of Nesshutefnut

On display

At the time of excavation in 1905 the mummy of Nesshutefnut was in excellent condition. The head and feet 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. SKULL - What appears to be a loose fragment of bone can be seen in the region of the right orbit. This is probably the result of cerebral extraction, but this operation has been incompletely performed as there is evidence of calcification in the falx cerebri. The mouth is gaping, and there is evidence of spinal subluxation in the region of the 7th cervical vertebra. THORAX AND ABDOMEN - Resinous masses are present within the body cavities. The majority of the ribs have been detached from their costo-vertebral articulations, and several are lying free in the body cavity. There is subluxation of the spinal column in the lower dorsal region, and to the left of the lumbo-dorsal spine is a rod-like object about 5½" in length. The nature of this is uncertain, but it could have been placed there to consolidate a decomposing corpse. PELVIS - The pelvic cavity is filled with resinous matter, and there is evidence of marked skeletal compression. The necks of both femora have been deliberately fractured after death, and the shafts of these bones have been pulled downwards to the extent of about five inches on both sides. The femoral heads remain in their acetabular sockets. ARMS- The heads of both humeri have been detached from their shaft at the epiphyseal line, and there is a post-mortem fracture mid-shaft of the right humerous. The arms are folded upon the breast, the right being almost certainly uppermost. A ring with a rectangular bezel is on either the middle or ring finger of the left hand. LEGS - The soft tissues about the legs show numerous transverse 'fractures'. No lines of arrested growth noted. The treatment of the feet is unusual and closely resembles that of a mummy in the British Museum, no. EA 25258. Both have been disarticulated at the ankle joint, and have been placed one on top of the other, heels to left and disjointed toes to right. The right leg has been rotated through the angle of 90 degrees.