Digitally unboxed mummy of Amenhotep I reveals his face

Digitally unboxed mummy of Amenhotep I reveals his face


The mummy of Pharaoh Amenhotep I, who ruled Egypt more than three millennia ago, recently passed on the scanner table. Analyzes show the ruler looked like his father and died aged around 35. His mummy was also lovingly restored some five centuries after his death in an attempt to “heal” the wounds inflicted by grave robbers.

Who was Amenhotep I?

Amenhotep I was the second ruler of the 18th Dynasty of Egypt. He succeeded his father, Ahmose I, in 1526 BCE, his two older brothers having died prematurely. Very young at the time, his mother, Ahmose-Nefertiti, probably reigned as regent for at least part of her reign. He finally died in 1506 BCE, with no living heirs.

The exact location of Amenhotep I’s tomb has still not been discovered, but we do know that his mummy was found in 1881 in Luxor, along with several others. His remains were reportedly moved during the 20th or 21st Dynasty, possibly to protect them from looters. Her body was then transferred to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, but the Egyptologist responsible for the time, Gaston Maspero, decided not to “unwrap” the mummy, as it seemed perfectly preserved.

During the last century, two x-ray studies have nevertheless allowed us to take a look at the remains of Amenhotep I. Carried out in 1932 by the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, the first concludes that the pharaoh was about fifty years old at the time of his death. This estimate was later contradicted by a second set of x-rays taken in 1967 which fixed the age of death at around 25 years, based on the relatively good condition of the teeth.

The problem is that X-rays are not the most accurate for this type of analysis, as these often result in the overlapping of objects and bones, making the results difficult to interpret, including the condition of the bone. teeth.

In a new study, Cairo University’s Sahar Saleem and Zahi Hawass this time relied on a medical scanner to examine the mummy with unprecedented precision, all without damaging the remains.

A mummy manhandled, then treated with love

We knew that Amenhotep’s mummy was reembalmed in Dynasty XXI, some five centuries after the Pharaoh’s death. At the end of their study, however, the authors refuted the idea that this process was undertaken with the aim of reusing the royal funeral equipment for subsequent pharaohs. In fact, Amenhotep I’s mummy appears to have been lovingly and lovingly restored after being damaged by grave robbers.

While researchers have found nothing to justify the cause of death, they have indeed come across many postmortem mutilations. According to the analyzes, the priests of the 21st dynasty would have reattached the severed head with a strip of resin treated linen, reattached the limbs and fingers, tightened the loose bandages and placed two new amulets in the mummy.

These scans also revealed a male figure of around six feet tall with a pierced left ear and a circumcised penis. The researchers also specified the age of Amenhotep I at the time of his death as around 35, meaning he ruled for around 21 years. As for the pharaoh’s appearance, “Amenhotep I seems to have physically resembled his father: he had a narrow chin, a small narrow nose, curly hair, and slightly protruding upper teeth,” the authors conclude.