Digging History

Mysterious tiny mummy stuns experts

The tiny mummy at Maidstone Museum (Maidstone Museum)

The tiny mummy at Maidstone Museum (Maidstone Museum)  (PAUL DIXON at APACHE STUDIOS apachestudios.couk)

Experts in the U.K. were stunned recently when a tiny Egyptian mummy, long thought to be the remains of a hawk, was revealed to be a human baby.

The ancient mummy, which is part of the Maidstone Museum’s collection, underwent a Computerized Tomography (CT) scan at the Kent Institute of Medicine and Surgery (KIMS).

“Following the scans at KIMS Hospital, the remains were in fact revealed to be the mummy of a baby,” said Samantha Harris, the Collections Manager at Maidstone Museum, in a statement. “Initial reviews identified the baby to be a miscarried c.20-week gestation foetus which, if found to be the case, will be one of the youngest human mummies recorded anywhere in the world.”

The CT scan gave experts the opportunity to study the mummy, which could be 2,300 years old, without damaging it. “Without access to the technology, identifying and learning about the baby mummy would’ve been impossible without causing irreversible damage from unwrapping,” said Harris.

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The discovery has sparked speculation that the mummy is the love child of a pharaoh, although a Maidstone Museum spokesman told FoxNews.com there is no evidence to support this theory.

“Additional research and conservation will be undertaken in order to respect and care for the baby as a person, maintaining the highest standards of ethical responsibility for the preservation of human remains,” said the museum, in its statement.

Ta-Kush, another Maidstone Museum mummy, also underwent a CT scan, resulting in “remarkable” results, according to Harris.

“Not only did we find evidence of fully erupted wisdom teeth to help us identify that her age was probably much higher than was first thought, but also that there was evidence of a wedge fracture in one of her vertebrae – a symptom of patients suffering a downward impact such as a fall.”

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Experts previously thought that Ta-Kush was 14 when she died, but the CT scan indicates that she was at least in her mid-20s, according to Kent Online.

Liverpool John Moores University in the U.K. is conducting initial analysis of the Ta-Kush scans, which are likely to reveal additional details about the mummy. The university will also attempt to reconstruct the mummy’s face.

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An ancient Egyptian ram’s horn plugged with mummy linen was also scanned at KIMS Hospital, and was found to be filled with items from the Victorian era, or later, such as a chain/necklace and buttons. “The reason for this remains a mystery, and further research will be undertaken as to why this might have been used as a form of container,” said the museum, in its statement.

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