Category Archives: EGYPT

4,000-Year-Old Mummies Are Half Brothers, DNA Analysis Shows

4,000-Year-Old Mummies Are Half Brothers, DNA Analysis Shows

Using ‘next generation’ DNA sequencing scientists have found that the famous ‘Two Brothers’ mummies of the Manchester Museum have different fathers so are, in fact, half-brothers.

4,000-Year-Old Mummies Are Half Brothers, DNA Analysis Shows
The mummies of Khnum-Nakht (left) and Nakht-Ankh (right) date to about 1800 B.C. The DNA extracted from Khnum-Nakht, who died first, was in bad condition.

The Two Brothers are the Museum’s oldest mummies and amongst the best-known human remains in its Egyptology collection. They are the mummies of two elite men — Khnum-nakht and Nakht-ankh — dating to around 1800 BC.

However, ever since their discovery in 1907 there has been some debate amongst Egyptologists whether the two were actually related at all. So, in 2015, ‘ancient DNA’ was extracted from their teeth to solve the mystery.

But how did the mystery start? The pair’s joint burial site, later dubbed The Tomb of The Two Brothers, was discovered at Deir Rifeh, a village 250 miles south of Cairo.

They were found by Egyptian workmen directed by early 20th century Egyptologists, Flinders Petrie and Ernest Mackay.

Hieroglyphic inscriptions on the coffins indicated that both men were the sons of an unnamed local governor and had mothers with the same name, Khnum-aa. It was then the men became known as the Two Brothers.

When the complete contents of the tomb were shipped to Manchester in 1908 and the mummies of both men were unwrapped by the UK’s first professional female Egyptologist, Dr Margaret Murray. Her team concluded that the skeletal morphologies were quite different, suggesting an absence of family relationships.

Margaret Murray and her colleagues unwrap the mummy of Nakht-Ankh, which was sent from Egypt to Manchester in 1908.

Based on contemporary inscriptional evidence, it was proposed that one of the Brothers was adopted.

Therefore, in 2015, the DNA was extracted from the teeth and, following hybridization capture of the mitochondrial and Y chromosome fractions, sequenced by a next-generation method.

Analysis showed that both Nakht-Ankh and Khnum-Nakht belonged to mitochondrial haplotype M1a1, suggesting a maternal relationship.

The Y chromosome sequences were less complete but showed variations between the two mummies, indicating that Nakht-Ankh and Khnum-Nakht had different fathers, and were thus very likely to have been half-brothers.

Dr Konstantina Drosou, of the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Manchester who conducted the DNA sequencing, said: “It was a long and exhausting journey to the results but we are finally here.

I am very grateful we were able to add a small but very important piece to the big history puzzle and I am sure the brothers would be very proud of us. These moments are what make us believe in ancient DNA. “

The study, which is being published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, is the first to successfully use the typing of both mitochondrial and Y chromosomal DNA in Egyptian mummies.

Dr Campbell Price, Curator of Egypt and Sudan at Manchester Museum, said: “The University of Manchester, and Manchester Museum, in particular, has a long history of research on ancient Egyptian human remains.

Our reconstructions will always be speculative to some extent but to be able to link these two men in this way is an exciting first.”

A child mummy from Egypt is the first found with a dressed wound, offering a rare glimpse into ancient medicine

A child mummy from Egypt is the first found with a dressed wound, offering a rare glimpse into ancient medicine

Scientists found the first recorded example of a bandaged wound on a mummified body, which could offer more insight into ancient medical practices. The finding was published in the International Journal of Paleopathology, a peer-reviewed journal, on December 30.

A child mummy from Egypt is the first found with a dressed wound, offering a rare glimpse into ancient medicine
Scientists have found the first example of a bandaged wound on a mummified body from Ancient Egypt, pictured here next to a scan showing the bandage.

The researchers said they discovered the bandages on the remains of a young girl, aged no more than four years, who died about 2,000 years ago. The dressing wrapped a wound that showed signs of infection, the study said.

“It gives us clues about how they [ancient Egyptians] treated such infections or abscesses during their lifetime,” Albert Zink, head of the Institute for Mummy Studies in Bolzona, Italy, and an author on the study, told Insider.

The mummy was thought to be taken from the “Tomb of Aline” in the Faiyum Oasis, located southwest of Cairo, the study said. The finding had come as a surprise to the scientists, who didn’t set out looking for the bandages.

“It was really exciting because we didn’t expect it,” Zink said. “It was never described before.”

A rare glimpse into medical history

Ancient Egyptians are thought to have had an adept understanding of medical practices.

They wouldn’t have known things we would now take for granted, like how a heart functions, how microbes cause infection, or how rogue cells cause cancer — but they did have a fairly good idea of how to treat symptoms of disease, Zink said.

“We know from other evidence, like papyrus, that they had a good experience of treating wounds and injuries,” said Zink.

So it’s surprising that these types of bandages have never been seen in a mummy before, he said.

In this case, Zink said, the bandages were spotted while the scientists carried out routine CT scans of mummies, as can be seen in the scans below and annotated with the full-lined arrow. The wound appeared to have been infected when she died, as the scans showed signs of “pus,” Zink said. These signs of infection are marked by the dotted arrows in the scans below.

A side view of the mummy’s foot was seen in a CT scan.
A cross-section of the mummy’s legs is shown.

“It’s very likely that they applied some specific herbs or ointment to treat the inflammation of this area,” which further analysis could identify, Zink said.

Zink said he wanted to get samples from the area to understand what caused the infection and how people at the time treated it.

But that could entail unwrapping the mummy, which Zink said he was reluctant to do. Another option would be to collect a sample using a biopsy needle, he said.

The mummy of the child, seen with a portrait of the girl on its front and gilded buttons decorating the wrappings.

Mystery of the missing bandages unfurls

Zink says there was no clear explanation why, in this particular case, the bandages were left in place.

“The question is whether it was just left in place and it remained despite the embalming process or whether they placed it,” he said, referring to the embalmers.

Wound dressings typically did not survive the mummification process. But it’s possible the embalmers added the bandage on the body after the girl’s death.

Ancient Egyptians believed that the mummified body should be as perfect as possible for life after death, Zink said: “Maybe they tried somehow to continue the healing process for the afterlife.”

As to why other such examples of bandaging had not been spotted before, it is plausible that scientists had simply failed to spot them until now, or mistaken them for other mummy wrappings. Zink now hopes that more examples of mummy wrappings can be uncovered.

“There are always some surprises when we study mummies. I have now studied, I don’t know how many mummies in my scientific career, but there’s always something new,” he said.

Why is Nikola Tesla obsessed with Egyptian pyramids?

Why is Nikola Tesla obsessed with Egyptian pyramids?

Nikola Tesla died somewhat unappreciated but his fame and the myth around him has continued to grow tremendously into our times. He is now perceived as the ultimate mad scientist, the one who essentially invented our times, credited with key ideas leading to smartphones, wi-fi, AC electrical supply system, and more.

Besides ideas that Tesla implemented and patented, he also had many other interests in different fields of research, some quite esoteric.

One of the most unusual was his preoccupation with Egyptian pyramids, one of humanity’s most mysterious and magnificent constructions.

Tesla believed they served a higher purpose and was investigating them throughout his life. What did he find so alluring about the pyramids? He wondered if they weren’t giant transmitters of energy – a thought that coincided with his investigation into how to send energy wirelessly.

In 1905, Tesla filed a patent in the U.S. titled “The art of transmitting electrical energy through the natural medium,” outlining designs for a series of generators around the world that would tap the ionosphere for energy collections.

He saw planet Earth itself, with its two poles, as a giant electrical generator of limitless energy. His triangle-shaped design became known as Tesla’s electromagnetic pyramid.

Tesla sitting in his Colorado Springs laboratory…1899

“The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence,” said Tesla.

It wasn’t just the shape of the Egyptian pyramids but their location that created their power, according to Tesla. He built a tower facility known as the Tesla Experimental Station in Colorado Springs and Wardenclyffe Tower or Tesla Tower on the East Coast that sought to take advantage of the Earth’s energy field.

The locations were chosen according to the laws of where the Pyramids of Giza were built, related to the relationship between the elliptical orbit of the planet and the equator. The design was intended for wireless transmission of energy.

Wardenclyffe Tower. 1904.

Were the Great Pyramids essentially ancient Tesla Towers? How the Pyramids were made:


Another aspect of Tesla’s thinking is reportedly related to numerology.

Tesla was, by many accounts, an unusual individual, with obsessive qualities. One such obsession was the numbers “3,6,9”, which he believed were the key to the universe.

He would drive around buildings 3 times before going in or staying in hotels with numbers divisible by 3.

He made other choices in sets of 3. Some belief Tesla’s obsession with these numbers connected to his preference for pyramidal shapes and the belief that there was some fundamental mathematical law and ratios that are part of a universal math language. 

As we don’t know precisely how the pyramids were built and why they are looked at by some as creations that may be either generating energy or be serving as deliberately installed messengers or even code from an ancient civilization.

It’s easy to get into “ancient aliens” type of theories by extending such thinking. If you’re up for such an approach, check out this video:

Nikola Tesla – Limitless Energy & the Pyramids of Egypt

A Pregnant Ancient Egyptian Mummy Has Been Discovered in a Shocking World First

A Pregnant Ancient Egyptian Mummy Has Been Discovered in a Shocking World First

A team of Polish scientists say they have discovered the only known example of an embalmed pregnant Egyptian mummy. The discovery was made by researchers at the Warsaw Mummy Project and revealed in the Journal of Archaeological Science on Thursday.

A Pregnant Ancient Egyptian Mummy Has Been Discovered in a Shocking World First
Polish archaeologists described the discovery as “really special”

The project started in 2015, uses technology to examine artefacts housed at the National Museum in Warsaw. The mummy was previously thought to be a male priest but scans reveal it was a woman in the later stages of pregnancy.

Experts from the project believe the remains are most likely of a high-status woman, aged between 20 and 30, who died during the 1st Century BC.

The scans of the pregnant mummy revealed a mummified fetus, as seen in these abdominal scans of her remains

“Presented here is the only known example of a mummified pregnant woman and the first radiological images of such a foetus,” they wrote in the journal article announcing the find.

Using the foetus head circumference, they estimate it was between 26 and 30 weeks when the mother died for unknown reasons.

A CT scanner and radiologists have been assisting the archaeological work

“This is our most important and most significant finding so far, a total surprise,” team member Wojciech Ejsmond of the Polish Academy of Sciences told the Associated Press.

Four bundles thought to be wrapped and embalmed organs were found within the mummy’s abdominal cavity but scientists say the foetus had not been removed from the uterus.

The scientists said it was unclear why it had not been extracted and embalmed separately, but speculated spiritual beliefs about the afterlife or physical difficulties with removal may have contributed.

‘The Mysterious Lady’

Researchers from the mummy project have dubbed the woman as the Mysterious Lady of the National Museum in Warsaw because of conflicting accounts around her origins.

They say the mummified remains were first donated to the University of Warsaw in 1826. The donor alleged the mummy was found in royal tombs in Thebes, but researchers say it was common in the 19th century to falsely ascribe antiquities to famous places to increase their value.

Inscriptions on the elaborate coffin and sarcophagus had led 20th Century experts to believe the mummy inside was that of a male priest named Hor-Djehuti.

But now scientists, having identified it as female with scanning technology, believe the mummy was at some point placed in the wrong coffin by antiquity dealers during the 19th Century when looting and re-wrapping of remains were not uncommon.

Amulets, thought to be items known as the Four Sons of Horus, accompany the mummified body

They describe the condition of the mummy as “well-preserved” but say damage to the neck wrappings suggest it was at some point targeted for valuables.

The experts say at least 15 items, including a “rich set” of mummy-shaped amulets, were found intact within the wrappings.

One of the researchers on the project, Dr Marzena Ożarek-Szilke, told the Polish state news agency that her husband had first spotted what appeared to be “a little foot” on one of the scans.

She told the outlet that the team hope next to study small amounts of tissue to establish the woman’s cause of death.

Archaeologists Discover ‘Lost,’ 4,500-Year-Old Egyptian Sun Temple

Archaeologists Discover ‘Lost,’ 4,500-Year-Old Egyptian Sun Temple

Archaeologists in Egypt have unearthed the remnants of a lost “sun temple” dating back to the 25th century BCE. Experts believe it to be one of just six such temples erected as a shrine to sun god Ra during the Old Kingdom, although to date, only two other sun temples have been found.

Archaeologists Discover ‘Lost,’ 4,500-Year-Old Egyptian Sun Temple
The site of the Nyuserra sun temple in Abu Ghurab.

The structure was discovered below a separate temple—itself one of the other known sun temples—at Abu Ghurab, roughly 12 miles south of the capital city of Cairo.

The newer temple is thought to have been built between 2400 and 2370 BCE by Nyuserra (also referred to as Nyuserre and Niuserre), an ancient Egyptian pharaoh who ruled during the Fifth Dynasty. 

The structure was first excavated by archaeologists in 1898. It turns out, however, that they didn’t uncover all that the site had to offer. 

“The archaeologists of the 19th century excavated only a very small part of this mud-brick building below the stone temple of Nyuserra and concluded that this was a previous building phase of the same temple,” Massimiliano Nuzzolo, the archaeologist who co-led the dig, told CNN this week. “Now our finds demonstrate that this was a completely different building, erected before.” 

The Nyuserra sun temple in Abu Ghurab.

From the older temple, the archaeologists uncovered a pair of columns from a portico and an entrance threshold, all made of limestone.

Nuzzolo—who is an assistant professor of Egyptology at the Warsaw-based Polish Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Mediterranean and Oriental Cultures—explained that Nyuserra likely used the bones of the previous temple to erect his own. 

“We knew that there was something below the stone temple of Nyuserre, but we don’t know if it is just another building phase of the same temple or if it is a new temple,” the archaeologist elaborated for the Daily Telegraph.

“Actually, the fact that there is such a huge, monumental entrance would point to a new building. So, why not another sun temple, one of the missing sun temples?”

Nuzzolo and his team also uncovered seals engraved with the names of kings, as well as dozens of beer jars. The latter vessels have been dated to the mid 25th century BCE, meaning they were created well before Nyuserra’s construction.

These findings were featured in an episode of the series Lost Treasures of Egypt that aired on the National Geographic channel last weekend. However, whoever was responsible for building the older temple remains an unanswered question.

Cloncavan man: A 2,300-year-old murder mystery

Cloncavan man: A 2,300-year-old murder mystery

In March 2003, the body of a man who lived during the Iron Age was discovered in a peat bog in Ireland. Known as the Clonycavan Man, the well-preserved remains indicate that the body was not that of a man who died a natural or honourable death, but one who was brutally murdered.

The mysteries surrounding his death are plentiful. Who was this man? Why was he so brutally murdered? How was his body so well preserved for so many years? And what is the significance of his highly groomed hair?

The Clonycavan Man’s remains are referred to as a “bog body.” The discovery of ancient and well-preserved bodies in peat bogs has been fairly widespread.

When a dead body is deposited into bog water that is highly acidic, low in temperature, and low in oxygen, the body can remain intact for thousands of years, including skin, hair, and organs.

This unintended mummification gives us a glimpse into the lives and deaths of ancient humans who weren’t necessarily honoured as royal or dignitary, like the mummified remains found in Egypt.

Clonycavan Man, who lived around the 4th or 3rd century B.C., is now a “bog body,” on display at the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin.

The Clonycavan Man was found in Clonycavan, County Meath in Ireland, in a machine that had been harvesting peat. The remains, which have been dated to 2,300 years old, consisted of a head, neck, arms, torso, and upper abdomen. 

It is likely that the peat harvesting machine was responsible for severing his lower body. It is estimated that he was between the ages of 24-40 when he died. The visible details of the Clonycavan Man are astonishing.

His estimated height was five feet, two inches tall. His nose was squashed, and his teeth crooked. The pores of his skin were still visible, and it has been concluded that his diet consisted mostly of fruits and vegetables.

Due to the damage from the peat harvesting machine, the Clonycavan Man did not have hands, but other bog bodies have been discovered to have very well-manicured fingernails.

One of the most distinguishing characteristics of the Clonycavan Man was his hair. On his face, he wore a goatee and a moustache, while on his head was a very distinguished hairstyle.

The front of his hair was shaven, giving him a higher hairline on his forehead. The remainder of his hair was several inches long, and was intricately folded forward and then back in what has been described as an “ancient Mohawk.”

It is believed that standing at only five feet, two inches, the Clonycavan Man chose this hairstyle to make himself appear taller.  Scientists even discovered an ancient form of hair gel in his hair, made of plant oil and pine resin.

The presence of this hair gel indicates that he was fairly wealthy during his lifetime, because it was made from materials found in France and Spain.

The most mysterious aspect of the Clonycavan Man is the manner of his death. Some have suggested that he was a King, who was ceremoniously sacrificed.

The injuries to his body suggest a particularly grisly death, which may have possibly been the result of torture. There is evidence of three significant blows to his head, to the point where his skull split open. He had also been hit in the nose and the chest and was disembowelled.

His nipples had been sliced off, which is specifically believed to be a sign of a failed kingship. In ancient Ireland, sucking on a king’s nipples was a sign of submission. Removing the nipples was intended to make a man incapable of kingship.

Unfortunately, the bog only preserves the body and doesn’t leave behind much other evidence. While it is fairly clear that he died a mysterious death, possibly akin to murder, there isn’t much else to tell us about who he was or why he died.

The preservation of his body was not intentional, and it is unlikely that anyone ever intended for future civilizations to try to unravel the mystery of his death.

Egyptian pharaoh’s 3,500-year-old mummy gets unwrapped digitally for the first time

Egyptian pharaoh’s 3,500-year-old mummy gets unwrapped digitally for first time

A CT scan reveals Amenhotep I’s skull

The mummified body of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh has been studied for the first time in millennia after being digitally “unwrapped”.

The mummy of Amenhotep I, who ruled from 1525 to 1504 BC, was found at a site in Deir el-Bahari 140 years ago. But archaeologists have refrained from opening it in order to preserve the exquisite face mask and bandages.

Computed tomography (CT) scans have now revealed previously unknown information about the pharaoh and his burial.

“We got to see the face of the king that has been wrapped for more than 3,000 years,” Dr Sahar Saleem, professor of radiology at Cairo University’s Faculty of Medicine and lead author of the study published in the journal Frontiers in Medicine, told the BBC.

Egyptian pharaoh’s 3,500-year-old mummy gets unwrapped digitally for first time
Dr Saleem says the scans of the body did not show any wounds or disfigurement due to disease

She said the first thing that had struck her was how Amenhotep I‘s facial features resembled those of his father Ahmose I, the first pharaoh of ancient Egypt’s 18th Dynasty, with a narrow chin, a small narrow nose, curly hair, and mildly protruding upper teeth.

The researchers also established that Amenhotep I was approximately 169cm (5ft 6in) tall and that he was about 35 years old when he died.

Dr Saleem said the scans showed he was in the very good physical condition and in good health at the time of his death, with no signs of any wounds or disfigurement due to disease. That suggested he died as a result of an infection or a virus.

The researchers were able to gain insights about the mummification and burial of Amenhotep I, including that he was the first pharaoh to have his forearms folded across his chest and that, unusually, his brain was not removed.

They also concluded that his mummy was “lovingly repaired” by priests of the 21st Dynasty, which ruled about four centuries after this death.

Amenhotep I’s mummy was twice reburied by priests of the 21st Dynasty

The scans showed that the mummy suffered from multiple post-mortem injuries that were likely to have been inflicted by grave robbers.

They also showed that the priests fixed the detached head and neck to the body with a resin-treated linen band, covered a defect in the abdominal wall with a band and placed two amulets beneath, and wrapped the detached left arm to the body.

Dr Saleem said the 30 amulets and “unique” golden girdle with gold beads that Amenhotep I was wearing disproved theories that the priests might have removed his jewellery for use by later pharaohs.

The mummy of Amenhotep I was reburied by the priests in the Deir el-Bahari Royal Cache, a complex of tombs and temples near Luxor, to keep them safe.

Egypt retrieves 36 smuggled artefacts from Spain

Egypt retrieves 36 smuggled artifacts from Spain

Pharaonic artefacts that were smuggled out of Egypt in 2014 were returned to the country on Monday. The 36 pieces were seized on arrival at Valencia, Spain, that year.

“This handover came as a result of effective judicial co-operation, and the result of concerted efforts between the Public Prosecution, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt in Spain,” read a prosecution statement posted on Facebook on Monday.

The repatriated items include busts made from limestone, marble and granite; bowls, vases, figurines and an ornate wooden box.

A collection of 36 ancient Egyptian artefacts that were just returned to Egypt 7 years after they were smuggled out of a port in Alexandria.

Prosecutors celebrated the return of the smuggled artefacts as a win for Egyptian-Spanish bilateral relations.

In their statement, they thanked Spain’s security officials for their commitment to preserving Egypt’s cultural heritage.

The artefacts were received by an Egyptian delegation including the country’s ambassador at a ceremony held at the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid on Monday.

They had been taken there to be assessed before the Egyptian delegation was contacted to come and retrieve them.

Spanish and Egyptian officials attend a ceremony at Madrid’s National Archaeological Museum. The ceremony was held to mark the return of a group of smuggled artefacts from Spain to Egypt.

Investigations into the smuggling of these artefacts began in June 2014, the public prosecutor’s statement read.

It said that security officials had proved at the time that the smuggled items left the coastal Egyptian city of Alexandria before they were seized by Spanish officials at the port of Valencia in the same year.

Egypt repatriates 114 smuggled artefacts from France

The items had been hidden onboard a container ship and forged documents were submitted to Spanish authorities to facilitate the smuggling.

Since 2014, Egyptian prosecutors have been following up on the case with Spanish authorities, the statement, released on Monday, said.

This year, Spain’s judiciary ruled that the items should be returned to Egypt. Word was sent to Egyptian officials, who formed a delegation to retrieve them.

A collection of ancient Egyptian relics was seized by Spanish authorities at a port in Valencia in 2014. The items were smuggled out of Egypt in 2014 and returned in 2021.

Egyptian artefacts have long been smuggled overseas.

The practice increased markedly in the period that followed a popular uprising in 2011 that caused a wave of political instability and lapses in security. The country’s tourism ministry announced this year that in the past decade, Egyptian authorities had repatriated 30,000 artefacts.

They had reached France, Denmark, Belgium and the US, among many countries.

Several prominent Egyptologists have launched awareness campaigns to help Egypt to retrieve smuggled artefacts, many of which are sold at discreet auctions at some of the world’s foremost auction houses.

A haul of more than 5,000 artefacts housed at the Museum of the Bible, in Washington, DC, was returned to Egypt in January.