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Pregnant Egyptian mummy: Polish researchers find an embryo in the belly of a mummy - evidence

Pregnant Egyptian mummy: Polish researchers find an embryo in the belly of a mummy – evidence

Since 1917, the National Museum in Warsaw has been around 2,000 years old Egyptian mummy on display. Only now Polish scientists discovered I discovered that the dead woman was pregnant!

This is the first known case in the world of a “pregnant mummified body,” according to an article in the magazine.Journal of Archaeological Sciences“.


It is the world’s first known case of a pregnant mummified bodyPhoto: AFP PHOTO / Warsaw Mummy Project

Marzina Ozarik-Zelke, an anthropologist and archaeologist at the University of Warsaw, made the discovery with her husband: on an X-ray they saw “a scene that parents of three children know” – “a small foot,” she said Thursday. With further investigations, the rest of the fetus was also visible.


On x-rays, researchers discovered a foot first and then an embryo during subsequent scans

Researchers first discovered a foot on x-rays and then discovered the fetus during subsequent scansPhoto: AFP PHOTO / Warsaw Mummy Project

Scientists assume that the woman was between 20 and 30 years old and at the 26th to 30th week of pregnancy. “We do not know why the embryo was not removed from the abdomen of the deceased during embalming,” said Wojciech Eggsmond of the Polish Academy of Sciences, who participated in the project.

Ozarik Zelke said the embalmers may have tried to conceal the pregnancy. It is also possible to “associate with faith and be reborn in the hereafter.”


The woman's mummy has been on display at the National Museum in Warsaw since 1917 - the embryo has remained undiscovered for over a hundred years

The woman’s mummy has been on display at the National Museum in Warsaw since 1917 – the embryo has remained undiscovered for over a hundred yearsPhoto: AFP PHOTO / Warsaw Mummy Project

According to scientists, there are no other cases of pregnant mummified bodies so far. This discovery opens “new opportunities for research into ancient pregnancy and maternal practices,” the researchers write in their article. The Egyptian mummy came to Poland in the early nineteenth century.


Support radiologists and archaeologists in their work

Support radiologists and archaeologists in their workPhoto: AFP PHOTO / Warsaw Mummy Project

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