Anthropologists and criminologists have reconstructed the face of a mummy of a pregnant woman

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Anthropologists and criminologists have reconstructed the face of a mummy of a pregnant woman
Anthropologists and criminologists have reconstructed the face of a mummy of a pregnant woman
11 November, 16:16SciencePhoto: Daily Mail
Experts have shown how the “mysterious lady” could look like, who belonged to the top of the Theban society of the time of Cleopatra and died of cancer during pregnancy.

An exhibition has opened at the Silesian Museum in Katowice, where you can see the face of a pregnant ancient Egyptian mummy from the collection of the Warsaw National Museum, reports the Daily Mail. The “mysterious lady,” as she is called, died 2,000 years ago at 28 weeks pregnant. It was brought to Poland in the middle of the 19th century, but until recently it was believed that these were the remains of a man belonging to the top of the Theban society of the era of Cleopatra, the priest Hor-Dzhehuti. Only in 2016, experts discovered that this was an embalmed woman, and an examination using a tomograph five years later showed that at the time of death she was from 20 to 30 years old, and she was at 26-30 weeks of pregnancy: in her stomach, a fetus, “pickled like a gherkin."

Photo:Daily Mail

Now anthropologists and criminologists involved in the Warsaw Mummy Project have examined her remains to obtain images showing what she might have looked like when she was alive, in the 1st century BC. Our bones, and the skull in particular, provide a lot of information about a person's face, anthropologists explain. What you end up with cannot be considered an accurate portrait, but each skull is unique in its set of shapes and proportions, which are manifested in the face of a person.

To bring the mummy to life, 2D and 3D facial reconstruction techniques were used. Typically, facial reconstruction is used in forensic science to help determine the identity of the deceased when other means of identification, such as fingerprint identification or DNA analysis, fail. Reconstructing a person's face from their skull is often the last way to establish who they were. In a historical context, this method allows you to bring the dead back to life, which, for example, are exhibited in museums.

Photo:Daily Mail

Project Mummy experts cannot yet say why the fetus was not removed and mummified on its own, as was usually done with stillborn children. Perhaps he was considered an integral part of the mother's body, since he was not yet born, and it was decided that the afterlife was provided for him only if he went to the afterlife in the mother's body.

Based on the position of the fetus, the researchers were able to determine that the "mystery lady" did not die in childbirth. The most likely cause of her death was nasopharyngeal cancer, which affects the part of the throat that connects the back of the nose to the back of the mouth. Scans of the skull showed unusual bone markings suggestive of cancer.

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