Polish researchers examining an ancient Egyptian mummy that they expected to be a male priest were surprised when X-rays and computer tests revealed instead it was a mummy of a woman who had been seven months pregnant. The world’s first pregnant Egyptian mummy about 2,000-year-old remains kept at the National Museum in Warsaw.
Further analysis revealed the whole fetus and scientists working on the Warsaw Mummy Project believe the woman was between 20 and 30 years old and was 26-30 weeks pregnant. The mummy arrived in Warsaw in 1826 and the inscription on the coffin named a male priest. No examination until the current one had disproved the belief that it was a male. “Our first surprise was that it has no penis, but instead it has breasts and long hair, and then we found out that it’s a pregnant woman,” Marzena Ozarek-Szilke, an anthropologist and archaeologist told. The mummy has not been opened but one scan showed the woman had long curly hair down to her shoulders. The research has been published in the latest issue of peer-reviewed Journal of Archaeological Science.
“This is the first known case of a pregnant embalmed body … It opens up new possibilities of researching pregnancy in ancient times and practices related to maternity,” the article said.