“Amenhotep I” Was Mummified With His Brain

Amenhotep I was a much loved pharaoh. He was the son of the remembered Ahmose, the king who expelled the hated Hyksos from Egypt and founded the 18th dynasty. In fact, Amenhotep was worshiped as a god after his death, along with his mother, Queen Ahmosis Nefertari, Great Royal Wife of Ahmose. Both, mother and son, received worship in the town of Deir el-Medina, where the builders of the tombs of the Valley of the Kings lived. All this has led us to think that the monarch was the promoter of the valley as a royal necropolis, although his tomb has not been found here (or anywhere else), but not his mummy, which was discovered in the cache of Deir el-Bahari , along with those of other great pharaohs, in 1881. In fact, the mummy of Amenhotep I (1514-1494 BC) was discovered by archaeologists with various flower garlands arranged on it and with his face and shoulders covered with a beautiful funerary mask, made with colored stones set. But given its fragility, the pharaoh’s mummy has never been unwrapped, so it has not been practically studied. Until now.

Three-dimensional CT image of the head of the mummy of Amenhotep I. The left lateral view shows different layers: the mask, the mummy’s head, and the bandages.

A STRANGE MUMIFICATION

The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities has just published a study that has been carried out by the media Egyptologist Zahi Hawass and the radiology specialist at the University of Cairo, and member of the Egyptian Mummies Project, Sahar Saleem, and that has just been published in the Frontiers Journal of Medicine. The article provides valuable information on the mummy of Amenhotep I that has been obtained thanks to the Three-Dimensional Computed Tomography (CT) scan to which it has been subjected and which has allowed researchers to observe its interior in a non-invasive way, although not They have not yet been able to determine the cause of his d.e.a.t.h.

Three-dimensional frontal CT image of the lower torso and upper extremities of the mummy of Amenhotep I. The right forearm is flexed at the elbow and crosses the lower abdomen transversely.

Amenhotep I was embalmed with his forearms crossed over his chest. He was the first pharaoh to be mummified in this way. There is also something that has surprised researchers: the king’s brain was not removed during mummification.

Frontal and lateral three-dimensional CT image of the digitally unwrapped face of the mummy Amenhotep I.

The results of the study show that Amenhotep I was embalmed with his forearms crossed over his chest. He was actually the first pharaoh to be mummified in this way. There is also something that has surprised the researchers: the sovereign’s brain was not removed during the mummification process. “The fact that the mummy of Amenhotep I had never been unwrapped in modern times provided us with a unique opportunity: not only to study how he had originally been mummified and buried, but also how he had been treated when he was reburied, centuries after his death. death, by the high priests of Amun,” Saleem said in reference to the second burial of the monarch in the cache of Deir el-Bahari, when he was removed from his original tomb by the priests of Amun, at a time when in Egypt pharaohs of the 21st dynasty reigned, to protect him and other royal mummies from the tomb raiders who ravaged the valley at that time.

A “RESTORED” MUMMY

“By digitally unwrapping the mummy and ‘peeling back’ its virtual layers – the face mask, the bandages and the mummy itself – we were able to study this extremely well-preserved pharaoh in unprecedented detail. We showed that Amenhotep I was approximately 35 years old when he died. He was approximately 1.69 cm tall, circumcised, and had good teeth. Among the bandages were 30 amulets and a belt made up of 34 gold beads. He must have physically resembled his father: he had a narrow chin, a thick nose, small and narrow, with curly hair and slightly protruding upper teeth.We were unable to find any injury or disfigurement caused by disease to account for cause of death, other than numerous post-mortem mutilations, presumably by grave robbers after her first burial. entrails had been removed by the first embalmers, except for the brain and the heart”, explains the Egyptologist.

Three-dimensional CT image of the teeth of Amenhotep I. The front view shows a complete set of healthy teeth.

He was approximately 1.69 cm tall, circumcised, and had good teeth. Among the bandages were 30 amulets and a belt made up of 34 gold beads.

Right side view of the mummy of Amenhotep I wrapped in linen and covered with flower garlands and a funerary mask. (B) Image of the mask made of painted wood and cardboard.

On the other hand, in their study, Hawass and Saleem refute their own theory regarding the intentions of the priests of the 21st dynasty to restore and rebind the mummies of the ancient kings. The researchers suggested that what they wanted was to reuse the royal funerary material for the burial of later pharaohs. Something that in the present study discards: “We show that, at least in the case of Amenhotep I, the priests of the XXI dynasty lovingly repaired the wounds inflicted by the tomb robbers, returned his mummy to its former splendor and preserved the magnificent jewelry and amulets in their place”, the Egyptologists conclude.

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