Ancient Egyptian Mummy Discovered with Brain but No Heart

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By Parismita Goswami | April 7, 2014 5:14 PM EST

Scientists have uncovered a 1,700-year-old Egyptian mummy with an intact brain but no heart. The mummy's abdomen has a plaque that the scientists suspect may have intentionally been placed for ritual purpose. The team of researchers studied the female mummy using CT scan.

Wiki Commons/Joshua Sherurcij
Ancient Egyptian Mummy Discovered With Brain but No Heart [Representational Image] (Wiki Commons/Joshua Sherurcij)

The woman may have lived during the Roman rule, when Christianity was spreading and may have died between the age of 30 and 50, the radiocarbon dating reveals. She suffered from horrible dental problems like many Egyptians.

Due to the decline in the use of mummification as a symbol of Roman culture and with the increasing Christianity, the woman and her family apparently had traditional Egyptian beliefs and must have insisted on contributing to the procedure.

As per the scan, the embalmers made a deep hole into her perineum and removed her stomach, liver, intestines and the heart. However they left the brain unharmed. She was wrapped in a coffin with lichens and spices on her abdomen and head, and was buried near Luxor, according to 19th century records.

"The power of current medical imaging technologies to provide evidence of change in ancient Egyptian mortuary ritual cannot be understated. While the technology is powerful it does have some limits. The presence of spices and lichen on the head were first found in the 19th century when the head was unwrapped. The CT scans revealed that they are likely also located on the mummy's abdomen, a determination aided by this unwrapping" Live Science quoted the researchers.

"We don't really know what's happening to the hearts that are removed," said Andrew Wade, a professor at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada.

"During some time periods, the hearts may have been put in canopic jars, a type of jar used to hold internal organs, though tissue analysis is needed to confirm this idea," Wade added. 

Photo Credit: Wiki Commons/Joshua Sherurcij  

(Edited by Vanilla Sharma)

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(Photo: Wiki Commons/Joshua Sherurcij / )
Ancient Egyptian Mummy Discovered With Brain but No Heart [Representational Image] (Wiki Commons/Joshua Sherurcij)
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