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Egyptian mummy was actually pregnant woman, not male priest Open in fullscreen

The New Arab Staff

Egyptian mummy was actually pregnant woman, not male priest

The revelation is extremely rare, but not unprecedented [Getty-file photo]

Date of publication: 4 May, 2021

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The correct sex of the mummy, who also happened to be pregnant, was identified by an anthropologist in Poland.

Researchers have determined an Egyptian mummy, long believed to be a male priest is, in fact, a pregnant woman, The New York Times has reported.

A group of academics conducting research on dozens of mummies at Warsaw’s National Museum uncovered the shocking truth about the deceased's gender, according to Wojchiech Ejsmond, director of the group in charge of the effort, the Warsaw Mummy Project.

Ejsmond said the team's anthropologist noticed something unexpected while verifying the mummy's gender by looking at its pelvic region.

Further examination revealed a leg belonging to a foetus, aged approximately 26 to 30 weeks, when mummified.

Read more: Egypt unearths 3,000-year-old 'Lost Golden City'

The team also determined that the mother was aged-20 to 30 at her time of death, using X-ray and other medical scans.

To find a pregnant mummy is not an everyday occurrence.

"It's like finding a treasure trove while you are picking up mushrooms in a forest," explained Ejsmond.

"We are overwhelmed with this discovery," he continued.

The team, who published their discovery in the Journal of Archaeological Science, dated the mummy to the first century BC and said she was of "high social standing", based on the embalming techniques used.

While The New York Times reported this was the first instance of a mummified pregnant woman being found, a later report in Al Arabiya’s Arabic-language service suggested this isn't the case.

The Saudi broadcaster said Nasr Salama, a former director of antiquities in Aswan, mentioned a previous discovery in 2010 of a dwarf woman who died 4,600 years back.

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