A 3,200- year-old Egyptian mummy has a skull full of dirt-like material, according to researchers who used a CT scan, also known as X-ray computed tomography, to look inside the mummy. Apart from the bizarre dark sediment, the mummy’s brain remnants were also present.
Jonathan Elias, the director of the Akhmim Mummy Studies Consortium, said that the strange material was added inside the skull, while the brain was left inside. A pattern like this has never been seen before, Elias added.
The Egyptian mummy was scanned using computed tomography (CT) at the Stanford University School of Medicine in California.
The name of the mummy is Hatason, although researchers believe that it is in fact a nickname rather than the individual’s real name. In the late 1800s, the Egyptian mummy was transported from Egypt to San Francisco.
The mummy was displayed in 1894 at the California Midwinter International Exposition, and in 1895 it became part of the de Young, a fine arts museum in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.
Currently the mummy is located at the Legion of Honor museum in San Francisco. Researchers say that the person who sold the mummy in the 1800s likely named it Hatason, which resembles the name of name of Queen Hatshepsut. However, the mysterious mummified individual is definitely not of royal descent, researchers say.
The CT scans revealed that the mummy’s bones were mixed up inside the wrappings, its pelvis – which is used to determine gender – had fallen apart, and no amulets were found inside the wrappings. Elias said that the mummy’s skull was shaped like that of a female.
Because the brain was not removed from the skull, the researchers concluded that the individual lived sometime between the 16th and 11th century B.C., during the New Kingdom. After that period, the brains of individuals were always removed prior to the mummification process.
The presence of sediment in the skull – although a method not seen before – could indicate that someone was experimenting with various mummification techniques, according to Elias.
With the help of high-tech X-ray computed tomography the researchers were able to uncover this interesting detail without destroying the mummy.
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