For the first time, a pregnant mummy has been discovered in Egypt. When archaeologists scanned the woman’s bones, they discovered she was six months pregnant when she died about 2,000 years ago, making her the world’s first confirmed pregnant mummy.
According to X-ray and CT scans conducted as part of the Warsaw Mummy Project, the woman was between 20 and 30 years old when she died, and she was between 26 and 28 weeks pregnant, based on examination of the fetus’ brain. Researchers remarked on how well preserved her remains were in fact.
Based on the way she was mummified – tightly wrapped in nice fabrics with amulets buried with her – she may have been a member of an elite family in the ancient city of Thebes, but her identity has yet to be confirmed. The cause of death for the woman is still unclear.
It was initially thought that the mummy was a male priest, which was unexpected. The male priest was named in the inscription on the coffin when it arrived in Warsaw, Poland, in 1826, and experts had no reason to doubt it until recently.
In an interview with The Associated Press, anthropologist and archeologist Marzena Ozarek-Szilke summarized the team’s surprise when they heard it was a female. The author explains, “Our first surprise was that it didn’t have a penis and instead had breasts and long hair, and then we realized it was a pregnant woman.” “When we saw the little foot and then the little hand (of the fetus), we were taken aback.” The researchers’ findings were presented in the Journal of Archaeological Science.
Although there have been previous discoveries of pregnant women’s skeletal remains, none of them had their soft tissues preserved as well as this one. A few pictures of the pregnant mother are shown below.
Archaeologists discovered 110 ancient Egyptian tombs at a site called Koum el-Khulgan along the Nile Delta, according to other sources. Seventy-three tombs, all oval-shaped and with people buried squatting with their heads facing westwards, have been dated between 5,500 and 5,000 years old. In one of the oval-shaped tombs, a baby’s skeleton was discovered inside a pot. In a slew of pottery pots, a bowl with geometric designs was found.
The other 37 tombs were built between 3,660 and 3,560 years ago. They were rectangular in shape, and the people were seated with their backs to the west. Another jar of baby remains was found in a rectangular crypt. Other items discovered included silver rings and a seal stone with a hieroglyphic inscription.
At the site, further objects were uncovered, including the remains of brick houses and ovens, as well as semi-precious stone amulets, such as a scarab. Excavations are also being carried out. (You can see photos of some of the tombs and artifacts here.)