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3500-yr-old mummified body of Egyptian king unwrapped digitally for first time

Amenhotep I — the second ruler of Egypt's 18th Dynasty — is thought to have died around 1506–1504 BCE, after which point he was preserved in the form of a mummy.

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Cairo: Pharaoh Amenhotep I’s mummified remains have been digitally unwrapped by the Egyptian scientists for the first time since the mummy was discovered in 1881. 

Amenhotep I — the second ruler of Egypt’s 18th Dynasty — is thought to have died around 1506–1504 BCE, after which point he was preserved in the form of a mummy.

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Using non-invasive, digital techniques, Egyptian scientists have used three-dimensional computerized tomography (CT) scanning to unwrap the 3,500-year-old mummy and study its contents, reported CNN.

“By digitally unwrapping … the mummy and ‘peeling off’ its virtual layers — the facemask, the bandages, and the mummy itself — we could study this well-preserved pharaoh in unprecedented detail,” said Dr. Sahar Saleem, professor of radiology at the Faculty of Medicine at Cairo University and the radiologist of the Egyptian Mummy Project, in a press release.

“Amenhotep I seems to have physically resembled his father … he had a narrow chin, a small narrow nose, curly hair, and mildly protruding upper teeth.”

Saleem said the fact his teeth were in such a good condition is a testament to how “amazing” the mummification process was. “Mummified bodies were well preserved. Even the tiny bones inside the ears were preserved. No doubt Amenhotep’s teeth were well-preserved. Many royal mummies had bad teeth, but Amenhotep I had good teeth.”

The researchers also found that the mummy had suffered from multiple postmortem injuries likely inflicted by ancient tomb robbers, which, according to hieroglyphic texts, priests and embalmers subsequently tried to repair during the 21st Dynasty.

“We show that, at least for Amenhotep I, the priests of the 21st dynasty lovingly repaired the injuries inflicted by the tomb robbers, restored his mummy to its former glory, and preserved the magnificent jewelry and amulets in place,” Saleem said.

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