The 3,000-Year-Old Mummy of a Famous Egyptian Pharaoh Has Been Digitally Unwrapped

Cortez Deacetis

The mummy of ancient Egyptian pharaoh Amenhotep I was so exquisitely wrapped – embellished with flower garlands and buried with a lifelike confront mask – scientists have been hesitant to open up up the continues to be. That is, right until now.


Some 3,000 several years immediately after Amenhotep’s burial, a team of researchers used CT scans to digitally unwrap his human body for the 1st time, practically peering through the a lot of levels to expose what he would’ve seemed like when alive (he took soon after his dad it appears). 

They also located that the pharaoh, who ruled from about 1525 BCE to 1504 BCE, was 35 a long time outdated and 5.5 ft (169 centimeters) tall when he died he was also circumcised and had good enamel, the scientists said. Beneath the wrappings have been 30 amulets as effectively as “a one of a kind golden girdle with gold beads,” review co-author Sahar Saleem, a radiology professor at Cairo University’s faculty of medication, said in a statement. 

Associated: What is the historical Egyptian ‘mummy’s curse’?

This girdle may have had “a magical meaning,” and the amulets “just about every had a perform to aid the deceased king in the afterlife,” Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s previous minister of antiquities and co-creator of the new study revealed Tuesday (Dec. 28) in the journal Frontiers in Drugs, explained to Are living Science in an email. 

“Amenhotep I’s mummy is wearing a piece of jewellery referred to as a girdle. The historical Egyptians wore jewelry like this around their waists. Some girdles, as this one, have shell amulets on the aspect,” Saleem instructed Stay Science in an electronic mail.

MummySarcophagusCoveredInDriedFoliageAmenhotep I, April 2006, Cairo Museum, Egypt. (Patrick Landmann/Getty Illustrations or photos)

Amenhotep I

Egypt expanded in northern Sudan all through the time that Amenhotep I reigned throughout the 18th dynasty. The pharaoh initiated a creating system that observed the design or expansion of numerous temples. Nobody understands how the pharaoh died or where by he was initially buried.


A staff led by French Egyptologist Gaston Maspero located Amenhotep’s mummy in 1881, alongside with a number of other mummies in a tomb on the west lender of Thebes (modern-day Luxor). His mummy experienced been put in the tomb sometime throughout the 21st dynasty (around 1070 BCE to 945 BCE) immediately after it was robbed in historic times. 

Researchers discovered that the robbers had harmed the pharaoh’s human body. “The CT visuals display the extent of destruction of the mummy of Amenhotep I that included neck fractures and decapitation, a huge defect in the anterior stomach wall, and disarticulation of the extremities,” which includes the correct hand and foot, wrote Saleem and Hawass in their journal report. 

The scientists found that monks had fixed the mummy by positioning detached limbs back in their area, using resin to assistance maintain parts of the mummy jointly and rewrapping sections of the mummy with clean bandages. 

“We clearly show that at minimum for Amenhotep I, the clergymen of the 21st dynasty lovingly fixed the injuries inflicted by the tomb robbers, restored his mummy to its former glory, and preserved the spectacular jewellery and amulets in put,” claimed Saleem in the statement.

What killed the pharaoh is unclear. “We could not come across any wounds or disfigurement owing to sickness to justify the lead to of demise,” Saleem stated in the assertion. 

Pharaoh's skull showed his teeth were in good condition at the time of death. (S. Saleem/Z. Hawass)Pharaoh’s cranium confirmed his teeth ended up in excellent issue at the time of death. (S. Saleem/Z. Hawass)

The scans lose light-weight on what the pharaoh appeared like when he was alive. “Amenhotep I looks to have physically resembled his father [Ahmose I]: He experienced a narrow chin, a little narrow nose, curly hair, and mildly protruding upper teeth” mentioned Saleem. 

Most pharaonic mummies have been bodily unwrapped or thoroughly researched applying CT scans, the scientists reported, noting that Amenhotep I was one particular of the couple royal mummies that experienced not been examined in element.

“This actuality that Amenhotep I’s mummy had by no means been unwrapped in contemporary periods gave us a exceptional chance: not just to study how he had initially been mummified and buried, but also how he experienced been treated and reburied twice, hundreds of years just after his loss of life, by Superior Priests of Amun,” Saleem stated. 

Shrunken cranium and skeleton beneath the wrappings. (Image credit history: S. Saleem and Z. Hawass)

Stay Science arrived at out to students not associated with the exploration. “It truly is all extremely attention-grabbing, but I am not certain you will find anything at all earth-shattering in this article,” claimed Aidan Dodson, an Egyptology professor at the College of Bristol in the Uk.

The golden girdle “could be with no immediate parallels, but just about all other royal mummies were being completely robbed, so this will not mean really a lot,” Dodson said, noting that other royal mummies might have worn related girdles that have been subsequently stolen. 


It is possible that the 21st dynasty priests put the golden girdle on Amenhotep I, claimed Kara Cooney, an Egyptology professor at UCLA.

The large priests of Amun, who properly managed areas of Egypt through the 21st dynasty, regarded Amenhotep I as an ancestor and could have displayed their affection for the pharaoh by positioning this girdle on him, Cooney explained to Reside Science in an electronic mail.

Cooney mentioned that she will explore this topic extra in an future ebook called “Recycling for dying” that will be released by American College in Cairo Push.

Similar material:

3 Egyptian mummy faces discovered in gorgeous reconstruction

In images: A search inside of an Egyptian mummy

Why had been the historic Egyptians obsessed with cats?

This short article was initially printed by Live Science. Study the primary short article below.


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