Mystery Solved: Ancient Mummified Legs Belonged To Egyptian Queen Nefertari

Posted: Dec 5 2016, 1:29pm CST | by , Updated: Dec 5 2016, 1:37pm CST, in News | Latest Science News

 

Mystery Solved: Ancient Mummified Legs Belonged to Egyptian Queen Nefertari
Credit: PLOS One
 

The mummified legs found in Egypt's Valley of Queens were never scientifically analyzed until recently

After more than a century of speculation, researchers have finally proved that a pair of mummified legs found in a tomb of Valley of Queens belongs to Egyptian Queen Nefertari – the wife of the Pharaoh Ramses II. 

The tomb of Nefertari was discovered in 1904 by an Italian Egyptologist Ernesto Schiaparelli while excavating the Valley of Queen. The place is located in Egypt where wives of Pharaohs were buried in ancient times. Among the object found in once-lavish burial place were the pieces of mummified legs, which were assumed to belong to Queen Nefertari. But the remains were never scientifically investigated. So, their identity could not be confirmed.

To solve the longstanding mystery of who the mummified legs belonged to, researchers have recently ran a series of tests like radiocarbon dating, anthropology, palaeopathology, genetics and chemical analysis and concluded that the remains actually belongs to Queen Nefertari.

“The most likely scenario is that the mummified knees truly belong to Queen Nefertari. Although this identification is highly likely, no absolute certainty exists.” The study published in PLOS One reads. 

Researchers found that the ancient pair of legs belonged to a middle-aged or older woman who was around 5 feet 5 inches tall and probably had arthritis. Analysis further suggests that the mummified woman was between 40 and 60 years old, which is consistent with the age of Nefertari. Queen Nefertari was in her 40s when she died. Moreover, the materials used for embalming the mummy are also consistent with 13th Century BC mummification traditions.

Queen Nefertari was the second and most believed wife of King Ramses II, who was the third pharaoh of the 19th dynasty. The ancestry of Queen Nefertari is uncertain but it has been said that she was probably not from the main royal line. Historical records also suggest that Nefertari probably died at the age of 40 to 50 years.

The burial of Queen Nefertari has been looted in ancient times yet still many broken objects were found in the debris when the tomb was excavated. Besides mummified legs, wall paintings, broken furniture, jars, a pair of sandals and various other small items remained preserved. All the items and human remains were sent to Egyptian Museum in Turin and they are still there.

 

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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