Scientists discover Egyptian mummy of a 28-weeks pregnant woman

WION Web Team
EgyptUpdated: Apr 30, 2021, 01:07 PM IST


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This is the world's first known case of such a well-preserved ancient mummy of a pregnant woman, said researchers on Thursday

Researchers examining an ancient Egyptian mummy discovered that it was that of a woman who had been seven months pregnant. It was a discovery that shocked Wojciech Ejsmond, the lead author of the study.

“I was speechless because we didn’t expect such a discovery,” he said. “The pregnancy was a complete surprise.”

This is the world's first known case of such a well-preserved ancient mummy of a pregnant woman said researchers on Thursday. The scans reveal the woman was 28 weeks into her pregnancy — about seven months — when she died.

The mummy was donated to Warsaw in 1826 and the inscription on the coffin named a male priest. No previous examination had disproved the belief that it was a male.

Marzena Ozarek-Szilke, an anthropologist and archeologist while examining said, "When we saw the little foot and then the little hand (of the fetus), we were shocked."

When anthropologist Marzena Ozarek-Szilke was observing CT scans and X-rays of the pelvis area, she saw some anomalies and some "weird-looking objects inside." Ozarek-Szilke told the Associated Press, "Our first surprise was that it has no penis, but instead it has breasts and long hair, and then we found out it was a pregnant woman."

Researchers while observing the size of the baby’s skull suggested she was 26 to 28 weeks pregnant. On further investigation, Ozarek found the remains of a fetus that had been left intact in the uterus and mummified together with its mother, who is thought to be in her 20s.

Their findings from the Warsaw Mummy Project of years of tests on this were published this week in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

"We do not know why the foetus was not taken out of the belly of the deceased during mummification," Ejsmond said.

Researchers thought the mummified individual was a man because it was found in a male coffin. That is why scientists believe "mummy is truly unique."

The excellent amount of emballing suggests that the woman was buried with a large amount of jewelry and she belonged to a wealthy family. Her identity is not known as the mummy has not been opened.

However, based on scans scientists rule out the woman had curly hair down to her shoulders.

(With inputs from agencies)