Computed tomography examination of the screaming mummy “Unknown-Woman-A”

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Abstract

Background: The Royal Cache at Deir el Bahari in Luxor, Egypt, contained the mummy of a princess named Meritamun of uncertain identity, who was consequently designated “Unknown-Woman-A.” The mummy has a widely opened mouth as if screaming, with the unusual posture of her head tilted to the right and partially flexed legs cross at the ankles. We postulated that computed tomography (CT) would help to provide insights on life and death of “Unknown-Woman-A.” Results: CT findings indicate that “Unknown-Woman-A” died in her fifties (sixth decade of life) and suffered from advanced diffuse atherosclerosis. “Unknown-Woman-A” was well mummified and eviscerated, and her body cavity was filled with resin. The desiccated brain had shifted to the right inside her skull. We presume that “Unknown-Woman-A” died of a sudden and massive myocardial infarction. Death spasm induced her unusual posture, and the contracted body was apparently mummified before relaxing her postmortem position. Conclusions: This CT study has provided useful information about the mummy designated “Unknown-Woman-A” including her mummification style, underlying advanced cardiovascular atherosclerosis disease, and her possible death circumstances.

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Hawass, Z., & Saleem, S. N. (2020). Computed tomography examination of the screaming mummy “Unknown-Woman-A.” Egyptian Journal of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, 51(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s43055-020-00255-6

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