Recovering women´s lost identity

Female Mummy

This mummy is dated between the XXIII and the XXVI Dynasties (730-650 B.C.). It belongs to an approximately 25-year-old woman. It comes from the private collection of a Spanish diplomat and was purchased by the Museum toward the end of the 19th century. At that time, it was deemed to correspond to a man, specifically a priest, which was a logical conclusion if we bear in mind the opinions held by nineteenth century archeologists regarding women in Antiquity.

External examination does not allow us to determine its sex or age, since no part of its anatomy is visible through the bandages that cover the entire body. Moreover, and quite possibly to make the mummy more attractive for sale or exhibition, it was associated with five polychrome funerary cartonnages from a more recent period that bore no direct relationship to her. However, radiological analysis has allowed us not only to discover that it was a young woman with a frail and sickly physique, but also that on her journey to the Other Side she was wearing several items or amulets of value, for example a serpent-shaped object which might have been a ring or an amulet. Thanks to the existence of the mummification process in the Egypt of the Pharaohs and to modern analytical techniques, we were able to recover her true identity.