Mummy of Pharaoh Amenhotep I “Unwrapped” for the First Time in 3,000 Years– Here’s What Scientists Found

Pharaoh Amenhotep I Facemask

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Facemask of the never-before unwrapped mummy of pharaoh Amenhotep I. Credit: S. Saleem and Z. Hawass

Study reveals that 21 st dynasty conservators ‘lovingly restored’ mummy, eliminating theory that they were set on recycling old royal burial devices.

All the royal mummies discovered in the 19 th and 20 th centuries have actually long considering that been opened for research study. With one exception: egyptologists have actually never ever been strong enough to open the mummy of Pharaoh Amenhotep I. Not since of any legendary curse, however since it is completely covered, magnificently embellished with flower garlands, and with face and neck covered by a splendid natural facemask inset with vibrant stones. But now for the very first time, researchers from Egypt have actually utilized three-dimensional CT (computed tomography) scanning to ‘digitally unwrap’ this royal mummy and study its contents. They report their findings in Frontiers in Medicine

This was the very first time in 3 centuries that Amenhotep’s mummy has actually been opened. The previous time remained in the 11 th century BCE, more than 4 centuries after his initial mummification and burial. Hieroglyphics have actually explained how throughout the later 21 st dynasty, priests brought back and reburied royal mummies from more ancient dynasties, to fix the damage done by severe burglars.

Pharaoh Amenhotep I Skeleton

The pharaoh’s mummy, revealing his shrunken skull and skeleton within the plasters. Credit: S. Saleem and Z. Nuwass

“This fact that Amenhotep I’s mummy had never been unwrapped in modern times gave us a unique opportunity: not just to study how he had originally been mummified and buried, but also how he had been treated and reburied twice, centuries after his death, by High Priests of Amun,” stated Dr Sahar Saleem, teacher of radiology at the Faculty of Medicine at Cairo University and the radiologist of the Egyptian Mummy Project, the research study’s very first author.

“By digitally unwrapping of the mummy and ‘peeling off’ its virtual layers – the facemask, the bandages, and the mummy itself – we could study this well-preserved pharaoh in unprecedented detail,” stated Saleem.

“We show that Amenhotep I was approximately 35 years old when he died. He was approximately 169cm tall, circumcised, and had good teeth. Within his wrappings, he wore 30 amulets and a unique golden girdle with gold beads.”

“Amenhotep I seems to have physically resembled his father: he had a narrow chin, a small narrow nose, curly hair, and mildly protruding upper teeth.”

Pharaoh Amenhotep I Skull

The pharaoh’s skull, including his teeth in great condition. Credit: S. Saleem and Z. Hawass

Saleem continued: “We could not discover any injuries or disfigurement due to illness to validate the cause of death, other than various mutiliations post mortem, probably by severe burglars after his very first burial. His entrails had actually been gotten rid of by the very first mummifiers, however not his brain or heart.”

The mummy of Amenhotep I (whose name methods ‘Amun is satisfied’) was found in 1881– to name a few reburied royal mummies– at the archeological website Deir el Bahari in southernEgypt The 2nd pharaoh of Egypt’s 18 th dynasty (after his daddy Ahmose I, who had actually expelled the attacking Hyksos and reunited Egypt), Amenhotep ruled from roughly 1525 to 1504 BCE. His was a type of golden era: Egypt was thriving and safe, while the pharaoh bought a spiritual structure spree and led effective military explorations to Libya and northernSudan After his death, he and his mom Ahmose-Nefertari were worshipped as gods.

Sahar Saleem and her co-author egyptologistDr Zahi Hawass, had actually formerly hypothesized that the primary objective of the conservators from the 11 th century was to recycle royal burial devices for later pharaohs. But here they negate their own theory.

“We reveal that a minimum of for Amenhotep I, the priests of the 21 st dynasty adoringly fixed the injuries caused by the burial place burglars, restored his mummy to its previous magnificence, and protected the stunning precious jewelry and amulets in location,” stated Saleem.

Hawass and Saleem studied more than 40 royal mummies of the New Kingdom in the Egyptian Antiquity Ministry Project that was released considering that2005 Twenty- 2 royal mummies, consisting of that of Amenhotep I, were moved in April 2021 to a brand-new museum inCairo The face of the mummy of Amenhotep I with its mask was the icon of the magnificent ‘Royal Golden Mummy Parade’ on March 3rd, 2021 in Cairo.

“We show that CT imaging can be profitably used in anthropological and archeological studies on mummies, including those from other civilizations, for example Peru,” concluded Saleem and Hawass.

Reference: “Digital unwrapping of the mummy of King Amenhotep I (1525-1504 BC) using Computed Tomography (CT)” 27 December 2021, Frontiers in Medicine
DOI: 10.3389/ fmed.2021778498

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