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The only known example of a mummified pregnant woman uncovered in Poland

Polish scientists made an unusual discovery – the Egyptian mummy displayed at the Warsaw’s National Museum appeared to be a pregnant woman. This is the world’s first known case of pregnant embalmed body. The latest research by scientists from the PAS Institute of Mediterranean and Oriental Cultures and the University of Warsaw has just been published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

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Study of Egyptian mummy in 2016. Source: Warsaw Mummy Project.

The mummy was supposed to be found in the royal tombs in Thebes, but this cannot be verified at this stage of the research. It was at first believed to be the mummy of the priest Hor-Djehuti, who lived around the 1st century BC. However, in 2016, several sets of tomographic scans showed that the embalmed body belongs to a woman.

Recent radiological examinations showed that the deceased woman was between 20 and 30 years old and was in the 26-30th week of pregnancy. This is the only recognized in the world mummy with a fetus. The fact that the mummy was carefully mummified, wrapped in fabrics, and equipped with a rich set of amulets indicates the high social position of a woman.

This discovery provides new possibilities for pregnancy studies in ancient times as well as further analysis of Egyptian burial customs and interpretations of pregnancy in the context of Egyptian religion. It was made as part of the Warsaw Mummy Project – the world’s largest interdisciplinary academic initiative devoted to the ancient mummies. The mummy can be seen at the National Museum in Warsaw.

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Source: Illustrations form the article in Journal of Archaeological Science, Warsaw Mummy Project.

The article “A pregnant ancient egyptian mummy from the 1st century BC” appeared in the Journal of Archaeological Science.