Saturday, October 1

Pharaoh Amenhotep I died at the age of 35 and was mummified with a brain and 30 amulets



How he died Amenhotep I? how old was he? What techniques did they use to embalm it? Many were the questions raised by the mummy of the Egyptian pharaoh who ruled from 1525 to 1504 BC, but no one had dared to unroll the bandages that wrap it tightly for 3,000 years. Not because of any mythical curse, but because the mummy is delicately decorated with flower garlands, with a magnificent face mask of great realism that covers the face and neck, inlaid with colored stones. Now, thanks to three-dimensional computed tomography (CT), Egyptian researchers have been able to peek inside and discover its secrets, without altering it.

Son of Ahmus Nefertari and Ahmosis I, this second pharaoh of the 18th Egyptian dynasty who carried out several military campaigns during his 21-year reign, died at age 35, apparently without injury or illness.

He was the first to be embalmed with the crossed forearms (in the so-called position of Osiris) and the last to whom they did not remove the brain of the skull at the time of its mummification, according to the
Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in a statement

Image of the mummy of Amenhotep I taken with CT – AFP

“The fact that the mummy of Amenhotep I had never been unfolded in modern times gave us a unique opportunity: not only to study how it had originally been mummified and buried, but also how it had been treated and reburied twice, centuries after his death, by the high priests of Amun “, explains Dr. Sahar Saleem, professor of radiology at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Cairo and radiologist of the Egyptian Mummies Project, first author of the study published in ‘
Frontiers Journal of Medicine
‘. The hieroglyphs describe how in the 11th century BC, more than four centuries after their original mummification and burial, priests repaired damage caused by grave robbers to royal mummies from older dynasties and reburied them.

“By digitally unwrapping the mummy and ‘peeling off’ its virtual layers – the face mask, bandages and the mummy itself – we were able to study this well-preserved pharaoh in unprecedented detail,” Dr. Sahar Saleem continues. We show that Amenhotep I was approximately 35 years old when he died. He was approximately 169 cm tall, he was circumcised and he had good teeth. Within its wrappings, wore 30 charms and a unique gold beaded sash«.

Amenhotep I «should have physically similar to his father“He had a narrow chin, a small and narrow nose, curly hair and slightly protruding upper teeth,” he adds.

«We could not find any wound or disfigurement due to a disease that justified the cause of death, except for numerous Post-mortem mutilations, presumably performed by grave robbers after his first burial, ” he explains. Its entrails had been removed by the first mummifiers, but not the brain or the heart.

Amenhotep I Mask
Amenhotep I Mask – EP

Restored centuries later

Sahar Saleem and study co-author Zahi Hawass, a prominent but sometimes controversial figure in Egyptology, had previously speculated that the primary intention of 11th-century restorers was to reuse royal burial material for later pharaohs. But here they deny their own theory. «We show that, at least in the case of Amenhotep I, the priests of the 21st dynasty lovingly repaired the wounds inflicted by grave robbers, they restored their mummy to its former splendor and they kept the magnificent jewels and amulets in their place ”, Saleem emphasizes.

Hawass and Saleem studied more than 40 royal mummies from the New Kingdom in the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquity project launched in 2005. “We show that CT images can be used profitably in anthropological and archaeological studies of mummies, including those of other civilizations, for example Peru ”, conclude Saleem and Hawass.

Thanks to this same technique, Hawass and the German specialist Albert Zink solved a 3,000-year-old crime in 2012 by discovering the truth about the “harem conspiracy”. Using X-rays and DNA analysis, they showed that Ramses III had his throat slit during this plot organized by one of his wives, who wanted to install her son on the throne instead of the first-born of one of her rivals.

The mummy of Amenhotep I (whose name means “Amun is satisfied”) was discovered in 1881 -among other royal mummies reinterred- in the archaeological site of Deir the Bahari, in southern Egypt.

Second pharaoh of the 18th Egyptian dynasty (after his father Ahmose I, who had driven out the invading Hyksos and reunified Egypt), Amenhotep ruled between approximately 1525 and 1504 BC, at a time when Egypt was prosperous. After his death, he and his mother Ahmose-Nefertari were worshiped as gods.

Twenty-two royal mummies, including that of Amenhotep I, were moved in April 2021 to a new museum in Cairo. The face of the mummy of Amenhotep I with his mask was the icon of the spectacular ‘Parade of the Golden Royal Mummies’ on March 3, 2021 in Cairo.

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