Although her embalmed body was in a coffin for a male priest, an in-depth investigation has found the first known case of the mummy of a pregnant womanaccording to a study published in the Journal of Archaelogical Science.
The discovery, signed by researchers from the Warsaw University and the Warsaw Mummies Project, opens up new research possibilities on pregnancy and motherhood-related practices in the old Egypt.
The embalmed body of that woman arrived at the National Museum in Warsaw in 1826 in a coffin that was made in the Thebes region in the 1st century BC for a male priest, Hor-Djehuty, the Warsaw Mummies Project noted on their social media.
However, a detailed analysis of the mummy has established, according to the researchers, that it is a woman who died between 20 and 30 years and was 26 to 30 weeks pregnant.
The The woman's identity is unknown and it is believed that she was found in the royal tombs of Thebes., in Upper Egypt, but it is necessary to maintain a critical approach with the interpretation of the Egyptian mummies, since many of them do not match their coffins, the study recalls.
The woman came from the elite of the Theban community and was carefully mummified, wrapped in cloth, and equipped with a rich set of amulets. This mummy represents a fine example of ancient Egyptian embalming skills, suggesting its high social position.
The body was stolen in part by antiquarians in the 19th century, so it is unknown what other objects were inside the mummy's fabrics.
In addition, its supposed find in the royal tombs of Thebes cannot be proven or rejected in the current phase of the investigation, as it is possible that it is only a legend invented to increase the price of the mummy, the researchers added.
This mummy, according to the team, "offers new possibilities for the study of pregnancy in ancient times", which can be compared and related to current cases.
What's more, "sheds light on an uninvestigated aspect of ancient Egyptian burial customs and on interpretations of pregnancy in the context of ancient Egyptian religion ".