“The world’s first pregnant Egyptian mummy” may not be pregnant

New research suggests that an Egyptian mummy who was thought to be pregnant may not have had a baby after all.

Last year a team of Polish scientists claimed to have discovered the only known example of an embalmed pregnant Egyptian mummy.

But now an extraordinary quarrel has erupted between those researchers, with several team members questioning the finding.

Some experts from the Warsaw Mummy Project claim that what appeared to be a fetus in X-ray scans and CT images was actually the result of “a computer illusion and misinterpretation”.

Instead of a baby, they believe they are “mummified organs” inside the woman’s stomach.

New research suggests that an Egyptian mummy who was thought to be pregnant may not have had a baby after all

Some experts from the Warsaw Mummy Project claim that what appeared to be a fetus on X-ray scans and CT images was actually

Some experts from the Warsaw Mummy Project claim that what appeared to be a fetus in X-ray scans and CT images was in fact “a computer illusion and misinterpretation”. They say that some of the objects pictured here with arrows have been misidentified as a fetal head and body

Affirmation: Instead of a child, they believe they are

Claim: Instead of a baby, they believe they are “mummified organs” inside the woman’s stomach

The world’s first pregnant Egyptian mummy

Brought to Poland in the mid 19th century, the “Mysterious Lady” represents the earliest known pregnant Egyptian mummy.

Last year, experts from the Warsaw Museum Project found that the mummy was pregnant and that the fetus had been “pickled like a gherkin”.

A tomographic imaging examination revealed that the woman was between 20 and 30 years old when she died and was in her 26th to 30th week of pregnancy.

The mummy was previously thought to be the remains of the priest Hor-Jehuti, until it was discovered in 2016 to be an embalmed woman.

Kamila Braulińska, co-founder of the Warsaw Mummy Project, said the original research “was not a reliable scientific study,” while radiologist Łukasz Kownacki and environmentalist Dorota Ignatowicz-Woźniakowska also contest the research.

But two project members, Marzena Ozarek-Szlike and Wojciech Ejsmond, rejected these claims.

They said today: ‘The Warsaw Mummy Project team does not confirm this information. Mom is pregnant.’

The project, which began in 2015, used technology to examine artifacts from the National Museum in Warsaw.

Researchers previously thought the mummy was a male priest, but scans later suggested it was a woman who was 26 to 30 weeks pregnant when she died for unknown reasons.

They believe he was most likely of high rank and was between the ages of 20 and 30 when he died during the 1st century BC.

Last year the Warsaw Mummy Project team claimed that a fetus had not been removed from the womb.

But writing in July’s Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, Braulińska, a bioarchaeologist, reiterated the initial belief that four bundles found inside the mummy’s abdominal cavity were wrapped and embalmed organs.

He said, ‘The bundles were placed there by ancient embalmers.

“There is probably at least one mummified organ of the deceased in the bundles. It was a well known practice in ancient Egypt.

“The remaining bundles may contain parts of the body or other products of the mummification process.

“There is also another possibility: the embalmers place bundles in the mummies to maintain the shape of the body after the mummification process.”

In 2021, through a combination of CT scans and X-rays, the Warsaw Mummy Project claimed to have discovered the remains of a fetus, around 26-30 weeks old, inside the woman.

In 2021, through a combination of CT scans and X-rays, the Warsaw Mummy Project claimed to have discovered the remains of a fetus, around 26-30 weeks old, inside the woman.

But now an extraordinary quarrel has erupted between those researchers, with several team members questioning the finding

But now an extraordinary quarrel has erupted between those researchers, with several team members questioning the finding

These are the earliest designs of the mummy casing, dating back to the 1800s when the mummy was first brought to Poland

These are the earliest designs of the mummy casing, dating back to the 1800s when the mummy was first brought to Poland

He added: “Our article contains a number of spectacular images and video links depicting the interior of the ancient mummy, including those made with holographic techniques, which are the latest trend in medicine.

“This is not the first mummy with bundles of this type. Objects of this type are sometimes found in other parts of the body and bundles or similar substances are found in the pelvis. ‘

According to Braulinska, the discovery of the mummy’s apparent pregnancy was the result of an illusion caused by a phenomenon known as pareidolia, a natural human desire to see familiar objects in random shapes.

He said: ‘This phenomenon, combined with the lack of consultation of theories with a radiology expert, unfortunately only resulted in the effect of a global sensation and not a reliable scientific study.

“Our article demonstrates how important collaboration with specialists from various fields is in the study of ancient Egyptian mummies and how one should rationally and critically approach the analysis of the results, putting aside illusions”.

WHAT IS THE VALLEY OF THE KINGS OF EGYPT?

The Valley of the Kings in Upper Egypt is one of the country’s top tourist attractions and is the famous burial site of many deceased pharaohs.

It is located near the ancient city of Luxor, on the banks of the Nile River in eastern Egypt, 500 km from the pyramids of Giza, near Cairo.

Most of the pharaohs from the 18th to the 20th dynasty, who ruled from 1550 to 1069 BC, rested in the tombs carved into the local rock.

The royal tombs are decorated with scenes from Egyptian mythology and provide clues to the beliefs and funeral rites of the time.

The Valley of the Kings is a valley in Egypt where, for nearly 500 years from the 16th to the 11th century BC, rock-cut tombs were excavated for pharaohs and powerful nobles

The Valley of the Kings is a valley in Egypt where, for nearly 500 years from the 16th to the 11th century BC, rock-cut tombs were excavated for pharaohs and powerful nobles

Most of the tombs were opened and looted centuries ago, but the sites still give an idea of ​​the opulence and power of the Pharaohs.

The site’s most famous pharaoh is Tutankhamun, whose tomb was discovered in 1922.

Preserved to this day, in the tomb there are original decorations of sacred images taken from, among others, the Book of Gates or the Book of Caves.

These are among the most important funerary texts found on the walls of ancient Egyptian tombs.