Scientists Reconstructed World’s First Pregnant Egyptian Mummy’s Face

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Scientists Reconstructed World’s First Pregnant Egyptian Mummy’s Face
World's First Pregnant Egyptian Mummy's Face Reconstructed by Scientists

The scientists of Warsaw Mummy Project have reconstructed the face of the world’s first pregnant ancient Egyptian mummy more than 2,000 years after her death, using 2D and 3D techniques.

The mummy is thought to be the world’s first documented pregnant mummy after remains of a foetus were found in her womb. She is known as ‘The Mystery Lady’ and is believed to have died 28 weeks into her pregnancy between the ages around 20 and 30.

The embalmed woman was analyzed last year by a team of Polish researchers, who discovered evidence of a foetus inside her stomach. Forensic experts have used her skull and other remains to produce two images showing what she may have looked like when alive in the first century BC.

Notably, the mummy was taken out of Egypt and into Warsaw in December 1826, around the time of some of the most important discoveries from the Egyptian Valley of the Kings. Her body had been carefully wrapped in fabrics and left with a rich set of amulets to see her into the afterlife.

Scans have revealed the woman was not only pregnant when she died, but also had deadly cancer. Deformities found behind the pregnant mummy’s eye suggest she may have died of a large tumor.

Dr. Wojciech Ejsmond, an archeologist from the Polish Academy of Sciences, said people see mummies as curiosities, but it was vital for ancient Egyptians to help preserve the likeness of their dead.

Chantal Milani, an Italian forensic anthropologist and member of the Warsaw Mummy Project said, “Our bones and the skull, in particular, give a lot of information about the face of an individual. Although it cannot be considered an exact portrait, the skull like many anatomical parts is unique and shows a set of shapes and proportions that will appear in the final face“. 

Forensic artist Hew Morrison said, “Facial reconstruction is mainly used in forensics to help determine the identity of a body when more common means of identification such as fingerprint identification or DNA analysis have drawn a blank. Reconstructing an individual’s face from their skull is often considered a last resort in an attempt to establish who they were.”

As per reports, the fetus, which had been ‘pickled like a gherkin’, was located in the lower part of the lesser pelvis and partly in the lower part of the greater pelvis and was mummified together with its mother. Its head circumference was 9.8 inches, which the forensic team used to determine it was between the 26th and 30th week of life.

However, some experts believe the so-called fetus found inside her womb may be an embalming pack, which was placed in the body to replace organs during the mummification process. 

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