Revealing ‘Unprecedented Detail’: Mummy of 3,500-Year-Old Egyptian Pharaoh ‘Digitally Unwrapped’

Zahi Hawass, chief of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, right, unveils a wooden coffin containing a brilliantly colored mummy dating back more than 2,300 years Tuesday May 3, 2005, at Egypt’s Saqqara Pyramids complex south of Cairo. The unidentified mummy, from the 30th pharaonic dynasty, had been buried by sand in a 6 meter (20 feet) shaft.

Hawass said the mummy will undergo CT scanning before being put on display at a Saqqara museum. The mummy of Egyptian king Amenhotep I, discovered in 1881, has been “digitally unwrapped,” and researchers published their findings in the journal “Frontiers in Medicine” on Dec. 28, 2021.

The mummified remains of Egyptian pharaoh Amenhotep I was discovered in 1881, but it had never been unwrapped for study, until now — and that was accomplished without having to remove a single layer of the embalming linen, Egyptian scientists say.

According to a report by NBC News, Egyptian scientists uncovered the secrets of King Amenhotep I’s mummified body by using advanced X-ray technology and computerized tomography (CT) scanning.

Zahi Hawass, a prominent Egyptologist and one of the scientists involved in the research, said, “For the first time we can know information about the mummy without disturbing the mummy,” NBC cited.

A study, co-authored by Hawass and Dr. Sahar Saleem, a radiology professor at Cairo University’s department of medicine, details the findings, and was published Tuesday, the news outlet noted.

By using the non-invasive, digital techniques, Saleem said the well-preserved pharaoh could be studied “in unprecedented detail,” CNN reported.

CNN cited Saleem, who along with her colleagues, determined that when he died, Amenhotep I was “about 35 years old and 169 centimeters (5.5 feet) tall.” Saleem added, “He had a narrow chin, a small narrow nose, curly hair, and mildly protruding upper teeth.” His teeth were healthy and he was also circumcised.

The scans revealed that the king was buried with 30 amulets and jewelry pieces, as well as a beaded metallic girdle, Yahoo! News reported.

With no signs of any wounds or disfigurement due to disease, the research suggested Amenhotep I died as a result of an infection or a virus, the BBC reported.

According to NBC News, Amenhotep I ruled Egypt for about 21 years between 1525 to 1504 BC.

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