Ancient Egyptian mummy was NOT pregnant, says new research
A 2,000-year-old Egyptian mummy that was thought to be pregnant, did not have a foetus in her pelvis but ‘mummified organs’, scientists say.
Researchers at the National Museum in Warsaw said that despite X-ray scans and CT images last year revealing what appeared to be a foetus, this was the result of ‘a computer illusion and misinterpretation.’
Instead, the scientists say the images reveal four ‘bundles’.
Writing in July’s Archeological and Anthropological Sciences, bioarchaeologist and co-founder of the Warsaw Mummy Project Kamila Braulińska said: “The bundles were placed there by ancient embalmers.
“In the bundles there is probably at least one mummified organ of the deceased. It was a well-known practice in ancient Egypt.
“The remaining bundles may contain body parts or other products of the mummification process.
“There is also another possibility - embalmers placed bundles in the mummies in order to maintain the shape of the body after the mummification process.”
She added: “Our article contains a number of spectacular images and links to videos depicting the interior of the ancient mummy, including those made using 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 similar bundles or substances are found in the pelvis.”
In April 2021, part of the Warsaw Mummy Project (WMP) team published an article in the Journal of Archaeological Science, which shows that a female mummy belonging to the University of Warsaw and exhibited at the National Museum in Warsaw concealed a seven-month-old foetus inside.
The researchers reached their conclusion after analyzing images obtained using X-ray and computed tomography.
But, that the woman was not pregnant is also evidenced by quantitative measurements of radiological densities, as well as the geometric arrangement of the bundles and the comparative characteristics of the materials inside the mummy.
According to the authors of the new article, their predecessors failed to consult a radiology expert prior to publication, although their conclusions were based on medical X-ray and CT images.
They add that the alleged discovery of the mummy's pregnancy resulted from an illusion caused by the phenomenon of pareidolia, a natural human desire to see familiar objects in random shapes.
The other researchers challenging the pregnancy of the mummy are radiologist Dr. Łukasz Kownacki, who performed a tomographic examination of the mummy and created its first three-dimensional images, Dorota Ignatowicz-Woźniakowska (Chief Conservator of the National Museum in Warsaw and coordinator of the Warsaw Mummy Project for the National Museum in Warsaw) and Maria Kurpik (Senior Conservator of the National Museum in Warsaw.
Braulińska said: “This phenomenon, combined with the lack of consultation of theories with a radiology expert, unfortunately only brought the effect of a global sensation, and not a reliable scientific study.
“Our article proves how important the cooperation with specialists from various fields is in the study of ancient Egyptian mummies, and how rationally and critically one should approach the analysis of the results, putting illusions aside.
“The respect due to human remains is also important.”
Meanwhile, the mummy researchers who made the pregnancy claim say they maintain their position.
Posting on social media, Marzena Ozarek-Szlike and Wojciech Ejsmond from the Warsaw Mummy Project said: "The Warsaw Mummy Project team does not confirm this information.
"The mummy is pregnant."