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Barnum mummy: archaeologists accidentally discovered ancient mummy 4000 years ago that surprised everyone

The Barnum Mummy: A 4,000-Year-Old Servant Mummy from the Middle Kingdom. Based on the name on the sarcophagus, this mummy was first given the label Pa-Ib, however it has now been determined that this is not the true name of the mummy. Therefore, the mummy is officially referred to as the Barnum Mummy!

Like many of the other mummies I’ve discussed, not much is known about this one. This is especially true considering that the poor woman is not lying in her own casket. Since she most likely lived in the Middle Kingdom, we may estimate her age to be around 4000 years. Although it’s unknown what profession she may have held, it’s possible that she was a domestic helper or housewife. She most likely passed away between the ages of 28 and 32.

The museum curators sought to give her a name after realizing that the coffin and mummy were not intended to be together. They settled on the name Ipy, which means “Most favored” and was popular during her lifetime.

Nancy Fish Barnum, P.T. Barnum’s second wife and widow, passed away in 1894. In Egypt, Barnum bought the casket and mummy. She subsequently gave it to the Fairfield County Historical Society and the Bridgeport Scientific Society (1894.1. A-C). This would later develop into the Barnum Museum.

In August 1894, the mummy was publicly uncovered. While in the museum, it has been scanned numerous times to learn more about the mummy. The audience commented on the “thousands of yards of linen bandages” and the “peculiar and slightly foul stench.”

Coffin
The mummy and coffin were studied in 2006, mostly to determine whether it was a real Egyptian mummy. There may have been some doubt that this was a fake since Barnum had previously made a false mermaid mummy. The casket was later found to not have been intended for the mummy after the authenticity of the mummy was established.

Naturally, this disproved everyone’s assumptions about the mummy, but I’ll explain about the mummy below.

This coffin was made for a man name Pa-ib, who lived during the 25th or 26th dynasties. Pa-ib was the third prophet for the god Min, who is a god of fertility and creation. The coffin may have been made in the Upper Egyptian city of Akhmin, based on the decoration and that Min is their city god. That means that this coffin is only 2500 years old compared to the mummy!
Mummy

The mummy wasn’t recognized as a female until 2006. The adjacent Quinnipiac University, where it was also examined in 2010, performed the scan. The mummies was subjected to a CT scan, x-ray, and fluoroscopic scan. Additionally, endoscopic investigations may have contributed to the discovery that the mummy’s heart is missing.

When she passed away, she would have stood five feet tall and been between 28 and 32 years old. Her teeth had many dental diseases and were nearly flat from extreme wear. Four bundles were also discovered inside of her chest. One was first believed to hold a bird, however this was later proven false. As was customary at the time, at least one of the bundles comprises her internal organs. Due to the fact that it had become separated during the mummy’s unwrapping in the 1800s, the head of the mummy was also inspected separately. Once more, the experts hypothesized that this woman didn’t perform any manual labor, suggesting that she may have been a domestic servant or housewife.

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