The mystery of whether this mummy from Saffron Walden Museum is a boy or girl, has finally been solved by radiographers at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.
Saffron Walden's oldest resident has been waiting for its appointment since 300AD. The child's body is wrapped in hessian-like material and some of the facial bones and teeth are clearly visible.
Museum archives suggest the mummy was acquired from a private collection in 1878. X-rays taken in the 1970s indicated that this was the body of a boy, aged about eight, but the results were inconclusive.
Halina Szutowicz, superintendent neuro-radiographer at Addenbrooke's Hospital carried out the mummy's CT scan, which was funded by the Saffron Walden Museum Society.
Detailed images indicate that a skull fracture may have caused a brain haemorrhage. The child also had a fractured right collar bone.
The mummy is believed to have originally come from a cemetery in Thebes, on the bank of the Nile. The area was under Roman rule by 300AD, however bodies were still interred in the traditional Egyptian style.
The heart and lungs were removed when the child was mummified, but the liver was still inside the body. The baby teeth were also intact leading Halina Szutowicz to believe the child was no older than five or six.
Although the museum has always thought the mummy was a boy, the outer wrappers were decorated with breast cones and details including a painted bracelet. These are more consistent with the burial of females.
Halina Szutowicz and her team carefully studied images of the mummy's pelvis. "It's not obvious and you need to know what you're looking at," she said. And the result? Yes, it's a boy!
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