Written by Bella Dalima
10 May, 2014 | 5:13 pm
Experts were so baffled by its unusually small size and its delicate design that some even suggested it was a fake, created in the 19th century.
Now CT scans have revealed not only is the case a genuine Egyptian artefact, it contains the rare remains of a mummified foetus thought to have been just 12 weeks into development when it died.
This revealed the majority of the interior of the case is taken up by folded strips of material, thought to be linen bandages.
Within these bandages is a darker area, about 3-inches (10cm) long, that the researchers claim is a foetus, in the foetal position with the placental sac.
Experts also identified what could be the foetus’ femur.
The length of the femur, together with the size of the dark patch, is consistent with that of a foetus 12 to 16 weeks into development, continued the researchers.
Another dark patch suggests an amulet was also placed in the case, and and there are several areas with dark circles resembling strings of beads or tassels.
The mummy, officially known as W1013, arrived in Wales in 1971, but nothing is known about how Henry Wellcome acquired it.
The mummy is made of cartonnage – layers of linen stiffened with glue – and is shown wearing a yellow and blue striped wig and wide collar.
This, coupled with its red face, suggests it belongs to a male as was customary for mummies of that time.
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