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The Mystery of the Screaming Mummy

The Mystery of the Screaming Mummy



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Mummification in ancient Egypt was performed using clearly defined routines and religious rituals. However, an unidentified mummy found in 1881 had not been prepared in accordance with custom. What is more, when his body was unwrapped in 1886, archeologists found themselves confronted with the horrific, gaping maw of a face contorted in a scream. In what appears to be an active attempt to damn the man, the mummy was in a sarcophagus that did not bear any name or identifying marks. Unable to proceed further, “Unknown Man E,” as he was called, was stored in the Cairo Museum. Over 100 years later, a team of Egyptologists, accompanied by National Geographic, reopened the case of Unknown Man E, who came to be known as the ‘Screaming Mummy’.

In 1881, an extraordinary find was uncovered in an inconspicuous cavern, known as DB320, 300 miles (483km) south of Cairo in Deir El Bahri. At the end of a 45 feet (14m) vertical shaft and seemingly endless corridors, 40 mummies were discovered, including Unknown Man E. At the time, the Screaming Mummy was hardly noticed for he was among some of the most legendary rulers of Egypt: Pharaoh Ramses II, Pharaoh Seti I, and Thutmose III, the Conquering Pharaoh. “These were the really big names in ancient Egyptian history,” said Dylan Bickerstaffe, an Egyptologist consulted by National Geographic.

The location of DB320 at Deir el Bahari, where over 40 mummies were found

They were all found together, removed from the splendor of their Pyramids in the Valley of the Kings. Experts believe that at the end of the Ramesside Period, tomb robbing had become a serious concern. Eventually, the threat became so great that the royal mummies themselves were at risk. The high priests, therefore, gathered together what royals they could and secreted them away to this distant, inauspicious burial site. The mummies were stripped of anything of value, however, they retained the possession most precious to ancient Egyptians: their names. A body without a name had no identity and, thus, could never reach the afterlife. For this reason, some experts believe that Unknown Man E, whose sarcophagus has no identifying markers, was intentionally cursed to spend eternity in hell.

The mummy of Unknown Man E (“The Screaming Mummy”)

Prior to the reopened investigation of Unknown Man E, there were three prominent theories as to his identity. One held that the man was an Egyptian who died while serving as a governor abroad somewhere within Egypt’s vast empire. If the man had been buried by novices only partially aware of proper custom, it would explain the peculiar traits such as the use of quicklime to dry the body out. It would also explain the goat/sheep skin spread across the body. To Egyptians, goats/sheep were impure animals and to drape their skin over a corpse was a defilement that would render the deceased unable to enter the afterlife. However, in other parts of the world at the time, the goat/sheep skin covering was a common part of burial customs because such pelts were often used for clothing and blankets among the living. By the end of the documentary, this theory is discredited because of Unknown Man E’s presence with the royals and because of the lack of identifying markers seems deliberate.

A second, similar, theory holds that Unknown Man E was a foreign prince who died while in Egypt. Due to the warring of disparate nations, he could not be transported safely home in time so he was buried in Egypt. However, this does not explain the mummy’s placement and the insulting lack of a name. The documentary shows that a CT scan of the skeletal remains indicate that the man was definitely Egyptian and his skull even had some characteristic features of Egyptian royals, such as shape, proportions, long distance of cranium from forehead to the back of the head, and an indentation on the top of the skull.

The documentary leans towards the conclusion that Unknown Man E was a member of the royal family who fell out of favor around the time of the death of Ramses III. This would suggest that the Screaming Man is none other than Prince Pentewere, disgraced son of the Pharaoh who was accused of plotting his father’s murder.

“Two forces were acting upon this mummy: one to get rid of him and the other to try to preserve him,” said Bob Brier, an archaeologist at the University of Long Island in New York who examined the body this year.

Mummy of the Unknown Man E (“The Screaming Mummy”) found in DB320, maybe the prince Pentawer, a son of pharaoh Ramesses III of the 20th dynasty .

Papyrus documents tell of a trial that was held sometime around the 12 th century B.C. A wife of Ramses III, Tiye, was accused of conspiring to murder the Pharaoh and place her son, Pentewere, on the throne. Tiye and her coconspirators were executed. As a royal son, Pentewere was allowed to kill himself by drinking poison instead. Some believe that Tiye was the first wife of Ramses III who had been pushed aside in favor of a younger, more beautiful wife. The son of the second wife, Ramses IV, would go on to rule as pharaoh after Ramses III died. There is only vague historical evidence of another son ever existing. The unmarked grave would have served as an additional, eternal punishment for the traitor.

It is only a theory but many believe that Unknown Man E had influential friends who would have ensured that he received his due after death, if only hastily. “For some reason there was an attempt to make sure that he doesn't have an afterlife, and in another attempt somebody cares about him and tried to override that,” said Brier.

This mummy’s identity was so rigorously researched because of his startling appearance. However, most Egyptologists agree that the gruesome visage is merely the result of the deceased head falling backward after death. Archaeologists intend to conduct a DNA test to confirm the familial connection between Unknown Man E and Ramses III.


Pentawer

Pentawer (also Pentawere and Pentaweret) was an ancient Egyptian prince of the 20th Dynasty, a son of Pharaoh Ramesses III and a secondary wife, Tiye. [1] He was involved in the so-called "harem conspiracy", a plot to kill his father and place him on the throne. He killed himself following his trial. [2]

The actual name of this prince is unknown, "Pentawer" being a pseudonym given to him on the Judicial Papyrus of Turin. [3] He was to be the beneficiary of the harem conspiracy, probably initiated by his mother Tiye, to assassinate the pharaoh. [4] Tiye wanted her son to succeed the pharaoh, even though the chosen heir was a son of the queen Tyti. [5] According to the Judicial Papyrus, Pentawer was among those who were made to stand trial for their participation in the conspiracy. He was forced to kill himself:

Pentawere, to whom had been given that other name. He was brought in because he had been in collusion with Teye, his mother, when she had plotted the matters with the women of the harem concerning the making rebellion against his lord. He was placed before the butlers in order to be examined they found him guilty they left him where he was he took his own life. [2] : 156

James Henry Breasted argued that Pentawer "was in all probability only an unfortunate tool" in the conspiracy. [3] Susan Redford speculates that Pentawer, being a noble, was given the option to kill himself by taking poison and so be spared the humiliating fate of some of the other conspirators who would have been burned alive with their ashes strewn in the streets. Such punishment served to make a strong example since it emphasized the gravity of their treason for ancient Egyptians who believed that one could only attain an afterlife if one's body was mummified and preserved — rather than being destroyed by fire. In other words, not only were the criminals killed in the physical world, but they also did not attain an afterlife. They would have no chance of living on into the next world, and thus suffered a complete personal annihilation. By killing himself, Pentawer could avoid the harsher punishment of a second death. This could have permitted him to be mummified and move on to the afterlife. [6] A recent study of the remains of 'Unknown Man E' which are a candidate for his suggest that he died by strangulation or hanging. If the remains indeed are his, then he would have been about 18-20 years old at the time of his death. [7]

In recent times, the Egyptologist Bob Brier has revived the old hypothesis that the famed mummy of the "Unknown Man E" found in the Deir el-Bahari cache (DB320) might, indeed, be Pentawer. [8] The mummy is very unusual because it appears to have been embalmed quickly, without removing the brain and viscera, and to have been placed in a cedar box, the interior of which had to be crudely hacked to widen it. Brier hypothesizes that Pentawer was mummified very rapidly and placed in an available coffin, likely by a relative, in order to give him a proper burial. [9]

Subsequent DNA analysis supports the theory that the mummy was a son of Ramesses as they both share the paternal Y-DNA haplogroup E1b1a and half their DNA. [7]


This is a cool historical mystery that I had never heard about prior to today. Write-up is original.

In 1886, an incredible cache of mummies was discovered in a small, unremarkable tomb in Deir el-Bahri. In all, more than 50 mummies of members of the Egyptian royalty were found, still in their elaborate sarcophaguses, literally stacked one on top of another in the crowded tomb. The mummies found there make up some of the most famous pharaohs: Seti, Ramesses III, Ahmenhotep, and more.

How did these revered people end up stuffed into this small, mostly hidden tomb? It is believed they were moved there around 1000 BC to protect the royal dead from graverobbers. During the decline of the Egyptian Empire, grave-robbery became a common occurrence. The ancient Egyptian religion held that one's body needed to be kept whole in order to exist in the after-life (hence the development of mummification). So the priests of ancient Egypt moved their most sacred dead to this unremarkable tomb, far away from the riches of their own tombs in the Valley of Kings, to keep them hidden and safe.

Out of all the mummies found in the Deir el-Bahri cache, one stands out as particularly unusual. Nicknamed "the screaming mummy," or Unknown Man E, this mummy is notable for its pretty creepy appearance, with its mouth open in what seems like an eternal scream. We know he was male, and that he died at around 20 years old. There is no evidence that he died violently.

When this mummy was first unwrapped in 1886, the examiners were shocked by what they saw. The mummy was covered in a thick, white paste, later determined to be a mix of natron and quicklime. Natron is a naturally-occurring salt which was used to dry out bodies in the early stages of mummification, but the quicklime was extraordinarily strange. In fact, quicklime has never been found on another Egyptian mummy.

In addition, the 1886 examiners determined that the mummy was still in possession of all of its internal organs (this was confirmed by a CT scan in 2012). This is also extraordinarily strange. The internal organs were always removed from soon-to-be mummies, both for religious reasons and because bodies rot from the inside out, so replacing bacteria-filled intestines with embalming material helps to preserve the mummy. But Unknown Man E had all his organs still intact.

Third, Unknown Man E was found in an expensive cedarwood coffin that was entirely devoid of markings, and covered by a sheep or goat-skin. In the Ancient Egyptian religion, a person could not enter the after-life nameless -- having the name on the tomb and sarcophagus was incredibly important. In burying this man in a blank coffin, the priests were essentially condemning him to never enter the after-life. The skin of a sheep or goat was considered "impure," so the skin covering is the final insult.

So essentially, we have a mummy who somebody went to great expense to entomb, who nonetheless was embalmed incorrectly and buried in a fashion apparently designed to shame and condemn.

There are several theories about who the screaming mummy might be.

First: he may be the mummy of a member of the royal family who died abroad. Extra sons were often sent to war in strange lands, or to newly conquered territories as overseers. If a very important person died somewhere far away, the locals there might attempt to embalm him in the same fashion as the Egyptians, but would lack the knowledge to do it correctly. This would explain the internal organs being left in place and the quicklime being applied. It would not explain, however, the apparent indignity of the blank coffin and sheep-skin.

Second: he may be a foreign prince, the son of the Hittite king, who is said to have travelled to Egypt to marry the newly widowed wife of the dearly departed Tutankhamun. The Egyptian and Hittite Empires were rivals, and often at war over their long histories. A marriage such as this might have brokered peace and kept the line of succession secure. However, the story says that the prince died soon after entering Egypt, and this angered the Hittite king, who attacked Egypt for revenge. This may explain the strange mummification procedure and apparent hasty burial. But there is once very strong piece of evidence that debunks this:

Unknown Man E was DNA tested and found to be the son of Pharaoh Ramesses III.

How, then, does a royal prince end up with such a bizarre burial? The answer is straight out of Game of Thrones.

According to ancient court documents, a son of Ramesses III and his mother were put on trial for concocting a conspiracy to place that son on the throne in the place of Ramesses IV, the chosen heir. Since Ramesses III was apparently murdered this conspiracy may well have been successful. The prince is referred to in the court documents as Pentawer though this was not his real name. The document says that the prince was found guilty and allowed to commit suicide.

Pentawer makes the most sense of the theories. We know he was the son of Ramesses III, and a member of the royal family, which explains the expensive burial despite his crimes. The strange mummification process may have had some significance that has now been lost, or he may have been embalmed very quickly, perhaps in secret, to prevent the fate of his mother: body burned and ashes scattered to the winds, meaning she would be lost forever and never enter the after-life. Even in death the prince was condemned, with his blank coffin and sheep-skin covering.

I consider this mystery likely solved. However, since the mummy was found with no identification, it can never be solved definitively. If it is Pentawer, it is not likely he was initially buried with rest of the royal family. But 200 years later when he was moved to el-Bahri, he was mixed in with the rest of the mummies. It is a wonderful irony that he ended up in the same tomb as his father who he likely murdered.


Archaeologists discover the answers behind the ‘Screaming Mummy’

IT’S a mystery from ancient Egypt that has baffled experts for years, but now archaeologists claim to have the answers behind the haunting ‘Screaming Mummy’.

Tutankhamun — The Truth Uncovered.

Tutankhamun — The Truth Uncovered

The mystery of the ‘Screaming Mummy’ from Egypt has been solved. Picture: Supplied Source:Supplied

THE ‘Screaming Mummy’ mystery from ancient Egypt has baffled experts for years but the secret behind the horrifying remains has finally been resolved.

When archaeologists first uncovered the mummified body they were surprised to find the face of the long-dead Egyptian distorted in anguish, appearing to be silently screaming, reports The Sun.

Over the years various theories had been aired in an attempt to reveal who the man was and why he seemed to have died in agony.

It is thought the Mummy might be Prince Pentewere. Picture: Egyptian Ministry Of Antiquities Source:Supplied

One popular theory said he was Prince Pentewere, son of Pharaoh Ramses III and one of his wives, Tiye.

The prince unsuccessfully plotted to kill his father and take his throne — and according to ancient records was made to take his own life after the plan failed and he was put on trial.

But the latest theory casts doubt on that explanation.

Dr Bob Brier, an archaeologist at the University of Long Island in New York who has examined the body said: “Two forces were acting on this mummy: one to get rid of him and the other to try and preserve him.”

Dr Zahi Hawass from the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities believes it is likely that the mummy was a prince who brought shame on his family.

It was buried alongside other royals but was covered in a sheepskin.

The mystery of the 'Screaming Mummy' has long puzzled archaeologists. It is believed the Mummy was either buried alive or poisoned. Picture: Egyptian Ministry Of Antiquities Source:Supplied

Dr Hawass, a former Minster of Antiquities, said: “In the mind of the ancient Egyptian, to cover with a sheepskin means he was not clean, he did something bad in his life.

“We𠆝 never seen a mummy like this, suffering. It’s not normal, and it tells us something happened, but we did not know exactly what.”

Dr Brier added: 𠇏or some reason, there was an attempt to make sure that he didn’t have an afterlife, and in another attempt, somebody cared about him and tried to override that.”

The “Screaming Mummy” is on display this week at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo for the first time.

Elham Salah from the Ministry of Antiquities said in a statement that this was the first time that the mummy had been put on display since it had been moved to the museum.

Until this week the remains had been kept in its coffin in a storage area of the museum.


Archaeologists Discover the Answer Behind the Mystery of the ‘Screaming Mummy’

Over 100 years after, a group of Egyptologists, accompanied by National Geographic, reopened the case of Unknown Man E, who came to be known as the ‘Screaming Mummymystery from ancient Egypt has baffled specialists for years but the secret behind the horrifying remains has finally been resolved.

When archaeologists first uncovered the mummified body they were surprised to found the face of the long-dead Egyptian distorted in anguish, appearing to be silently screaming.

Throughout the year’s various theories had been aired in an attempt to reveal who the man was and why he seemed to have died in agony.

In 1881, an extraordinary find was revealed in an inconspicuous cavern, known as DB320, 300 miles (483km) south of Cairo in Deir El Bahri. At the end of a 45 feet (14m) vertical shaft and seemingly endless corridors, 40 mummies were found, including Unknown Man E.

At the time, the Screaming Mummy was hardly noticed for he was among probably the most legendary rulers of Egypt: Pharaoh Ramses II, Pharaoh Seti I, and Thutmose III, the Conquering Pharaoh. “These were the really big names in old Egyptian history,” said Dylan Bickerstaffe, an Egyptologist consulted by National Geographic. The location of DB320 at Deir el Bahari, where over 40 mummies were found

They were all discovered together, removed from the splendor of their Pyramids in the Valley of the Kings. Specialists believe that at the end of the Ramesside Period, tomb robbing had become a serious concern.

Eventually, the threat became so great that the royal mummies themselves were in danger. The high priests, therefore, gathered together what royals they could and secreted them away to this distant, inauspicious burial sites.

The mummies were stripped of significant value, however, they retained the possession most precious to ancient Egyptians: their names. A body without a name had no identity and, thus, would never reach the afterlife. For this reason, few experts believe that Unknown Man E, whose sarcophagus has no identifying markers, was intentionally cursed to spend eternity in hell. />The mummy of Unknown Man E (“The Screaming Mummy”)

Before the revived investigation of Unknown Man E, There were 3 prominent theories as to his identity. One held that the man was an Egyptian who died while serving as a governor abroad somewhere within Egypt’s tremendous empire.

If the man had been buried by novices only partially aware of appropriate custom, it would explain the peculiar traits such as the utilization of quicklime to dry the body out.

It would also explain the goat/sheepskin spread across the body. To Egyptians, goats/sheep were impure animals and to drape their skin over a corpse was a defilement that would render the deceased unable to enter the afterlife.

However, in different parts of the world at the time, the goat/sheepskin covering was a typical part of burial customs because such pelts were often used for clothing and blankets among the living.

By the end of the documentary, this theory is discredited because of Unknown Man E’s presence with the Royals and as a result of the lack of identifying markers seems deliberate.

A second, similar, theory holds that Unknown Man E was a foreign prince who died while in Egypt. Due to the warring of disparate countries, he could not be transported safely home in time so he was buried in Egypt.

However, this does not clarify the mummy’s placement and the insulting lack of a name. The documentary shows that a CT scan of the skeletal remains indicate that the man was certainly Egyptian and his skull even had some characteristic features of Egyptian royals, such as shape, proportions, long distance of cranium from forehead to the back of the head, and an indentation on the top of the skull.

The documentary leans towards the conclusion that Unknown Man E was an individual of the royal family who fell out of favor around the time of the death of Ramses III.

This would suggest that the Screaming Man is none other than Prince Pentewere, disgraced child of the Pharaoh who was accused of plotting his father’s murder.

“Two powers were acting upon this mummy: one to get rid of him and the other to try to preserve him,” said Bob Brier, an archaeologist at the University of Long Island in New York who examined the Corpse this year. Mummy of the Unknown Man E (“The Screaming Mummy”) found in DB320, maybe the prince Pentawer, a son of pharaoh Ramesses III of the 20th dynasty

Papyrus records tell of a trial that was held sometime around the 12 th century B.C. A wife of Ramses III, Tiye, was accused of conspiring to murder the Pharaoh and place her child, Pentewere, on the throne.

Tiye and her co-conspirators were executed. As a royal son, Pentewere was allowed to kill himself by drinking poison instead. Some believe that Tiye was the first spouse of Ramses III who had been pushed aside in favor of a younger, more beautiful wife.

The son of the second spouse, Ramses IV, would go on to rule as pharaoh after Ramses III died. There is only vague historical proof of another son ever existing. The unmarked grave would have filled as an additional, eternal punishment for the traitor.

It is only a theory however many believe that Unknown Man E had influential friends who would have ensured that he received his due after death, if only hastily. “For some reason, there was an attempt to make sure that he does not have an afterlife, and in another attempt, somebody cares about him and tried to override that,” said Brier.

This mummy’s identity was so rigorously researched due to his startling appearance. However, most Egyptologists agree that the gruesome visage is merely the result of the deceased head falling backward after death. Archaeologists intend to conduct a DNA test to affirm the familial connection between Unknown Man E and Ramses III.


The ancient mystery of the screaming Mummy

Discovered in 1886, a mummy with an agonized expression on his face has long since been the object of speculation. This mummy has all his organs intact, which is not customary with mummification. Many interesting theories have arisen, though none have been proven right or wrong.

Bob Brier, a University of Long Island archaeologist, speculated that two parties were responsible for the mummy’s agonized expression. One was the murderer, while the other ensured full preservation of the body (possibly due to a personal relationship with the victim). Other researchers and archaeologists have come up with theories ranging from cold-blooded murder to poisoning to being buried alive.

A 2008 National Geographic documentary special investigated the possibility that the mummy could be Prince Pentewere (son of Pharaoh Ramses III), who was suspected of planning his father’s murder. Ancient documents from the 12th century claimed one of Pharaoh Ramses III’s wives was tried for conspiring to kill him, due to her desire for Pentewere to take over the throne.

It is thought that when this plan was discovered, she poisoned Pentewere as punishment and rolled him up in sheepskin after being mummified. If that was the case, the “scream” could have been due to the pain from the poison ingested. However, only a CT scan had been done of the screaming mummy, and it remains pure speculation whether the mummy was in fact Prince Pentewere.

Less sensational theories suggest that the mummy’s jaw is open simply because his head most likely rolled back after death occurred. But even that bit of realism is as good a guess as anybody else’s.


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While other bodies were wrapped in white linen and carefully mummified, the Screaming Mummy was simply left to dry out in natron salt, with some even poured into his open mouth, and covered with sheepskin

According to the Egyptian Antiquities Ministry, markings around the mummy’s neck show the person was likely hanged.

This lines up with the ancient texts on the Harem Conspiracy, detailing the plot by Prince Pentawere and queen Tiye – the pharaoh’s son and second wife – to kill Ramses III.

The body, also known as ‘Unknown Man E,’ is now on display at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo for the first time

DNA extracted from the bones of both the unidentified mummy and Ramses III, indicate the Screaming Mummy is Ramses III’s son, according to Ahram Online.

‘The gruesome mummy of Unknown Man E, also known as the “Screaming Mummy,” has long puzzled scholars,’ Egyptologist Zahi Hawass, the former Minister of Antiquities who led the Egyptian Mummies Project, told Al-Ahram Weekly.

‘Such unusual mummification has perplexed Egyptologists and no one has succeeded in knowing the story behind such a mummy until the launch of the Egyptian Mummy Project several years ago under my direction to create a complete database of forensic information related to the mummy collection at the Egyptian Museum.’

The death of Ramses III was a gruesome one, and many mysteries still surround the details of his murder.

CT scans showed that his throat was slit and his big toe cut off, likely in an attack by multiple assailants.

While the papyrus suggests the conspirators were arrested, the events of the trial were not accounted for – and, it remained unsaid whether Ramses III was actually killed as a result of the plan or not, according to the Antiquities Ministry.

The body was first discovered in 1886 at the Deir El-Bahari mortuary temples in Egypt (pictured)

WHAT HAPPENED DURING THE ASSASSINATION OF RAMSES III?

The New Kingdom Pharaoh Ramesses III, also spelled Ramses, held reign over Egypt from 1186 to 1155 B.C.

Ancient documents reveal that one of his wives, Tiye, meant to have him assassinated in order to get her son Pentawere onto the throne.

Pentawere was second to his half-brother Amun-her-khepeshef, but in a plot that involved servants, administrators, and other members of the royal household, Tiye plotted to kill Ramesses III and overthrow his successor to name Pentawere pharaoh.

The murder of Pharaoh Ramesses III was a gruesome affair. New research on the royal mummy reveals the pharaoh was assassinated by multiple assailants at once, coming at him from all sides with different weapons. Pictured is Ramses III (1182-1151 BC) April 2006, at Cairo Museum, Egypt

The pharaoh was killed, and the conspirators were brought to trial for his murder.

All – including Tiye and Pentawere – were executed.

When appointed pharaoh, Amun-her-khepeshef became Ramesses IV.

Recent research on the royal mummy reveals the pharaoh was assassinated by multiple assailants at once, coming at him from all sides with different weapons.

In addition to having his throat slit, advanced imaging techniques have revealed the pharaoh’s big toe was cut off.

While the papyrus documents detail the plans on Pharaoh Ramesses III’s assassination, there was no evidence of its success until the 2012 CT scans revealed his throat had been slit

And the injury may have been deliberately kept secret by Egyptian embalmers.

A new book by Egyptologist Zahi Hawass and Cairo University radiologist Sahar Saleem called ‘Scanning the Pharaohs: CT Imaging of the New Kingdom Royal Mummies’ describes the recent findings.

Using computed tomography (CT) scanning, the team was able to find new evidence linked to an ancient plot to kill Ramesses III, according to Live Science.

Ramesees III’s big toe was likely chopped off with an axe, Sahar Saleem told Live Science, which can be determined based on the shape of his fractured toe bones.

The text only contains a cryptic phrase that translates to ‘the royal boat has turned upside down.’

Whether the body truly belongs to Prince Pentawere or not, the experts say its burial was one of unusual circumstances.

‘Two forces were acting upon this mummy: one to get rid of him and the other to try to preserve him,’ Bob Brier, an archaeologist at the University of Long Island in New York told National Geographic following an examination on the body in 2008.

The body is on display alongside a gilded mask and a beaded shroud recently returned to the museum by the United States.

The body was buried near royals at the Deir El-Bahari tomb site on the west bank of the Nile, according to the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities


Mystery of the ‘screaming’ mummies finally solved

MYSTERY WIRE (AP) — Her mouth hangs open, forever stuck in a scream. And now the secrets of this ancient mummy have been revealed.

Egypt’s famed archaeologist Zahi Hawass and Dr. Sahar Saleem, a radiologist in Cairo University, have studied the body of the so-called ‘screaming woman mummy’.

She was found in 1881 in Deir el-Bahari at Luxor, where the priests of the 21st and 22nd Dynasties hid royal members from previous Dynasties to protect them from grave robbers.

Another ‘screaming’ mummy was also found there – a male. But the two figures suffered very different fates.

“It was a mystery for everyone, who could be this lady? The lady is turning her head to the right and her leg is bending,” says Hawass.

“We found out that this lady, she had thrombosis in her legs, the blood was everywhere and suddenly she had a heart attack that she screamed and died while she was turning her head to the right and her leg was bending. The screaming mummy is a major important discovery and we found out that this mummy is for a princess, her name was Meret Amun.”

The story of the male mummy is an even darker tale.

CT scans and DNA proved that it belongs to Prince Pentawere, son of King Ramses III and the study states that he was forced to commit suicide by hanging as a punishment for his involvement in the killing of his father.

“The first mummy of the boy, we found out that he died in the age of 18 and we have a papyri called the “Harem Conspiracy”. The second wife of Ramses III and his son Pentawere tried to kill him,” explains Hawass.

“The mummy is not mummified and also covered with goat skin and goat skin was dirty for the ancient Egyptian and this is a sign of hell because he killed his father, Ramses III.”

21st century technology has solved mysteries that are thousands of years old.

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Egyptian scientists unravel the mystery of the ‘screaming mummy’

In 1881 the remains of a mummified woman were found. Since her discovery, the expression on her face that seemed to scream surprised several experts for not having seen anything like it before and remained an enigma until scientists managed to discover the possible reason that led the woman to scream before she died.

Since its discovery, the mummy awoke an enigma due to the particular expression on its face that led scientists to carry out a study to understand what caused the woman to have an apparent gesture of pain when she died.

Scientists subjected the mummy to computerized tomography scans, which revealed that the woman died of a heart attack. According to the authors of the study, the pain would have caused the expression on her face and hardened because it was found after having developed rigor mortis hours after her death.

Egyptologist Zahi Hawass and Cairo University radiologist Sahar Saleem also discovered that the woman was in her 60s at the time of death and suffered from degenerative disease, severe arteriosclerosis of the coronary arteries, leading to her death with cardiac arrest.

Hawass explained to Egyptian media Ahram Online that the woman was probably embalmed with her body contracted before decomposition occurred, so they were unable to close her mouth.

The mummy was found wrapped in linen with writing that reads: “The royal daughter, the royal sister of Meret Amon” in 1881 when the DB320 tomb was discovered in Luxor where the mummified bodies of the royal members of the XXI and XXII dynasties lay.


The Archaeological Mysterious Case Of The Ancient Egyptian ‘Screaming Mummy’

An ancient mummy with its mouth agape and tensed visage, almost frozen in time that sadistically captures its terror and pain, is that the stuff of nightmare.

And as most of people would agree, from the visual angle, the moniker of the Screaming Mummy does the above specimen its fair share of justice. but, beyond the sense of dread, the mystery surrounding the Screaming Mummy relates to its actual identity harking back to the olden times.

To that end, this person otherwise known as Unknown Man E – currently displayed at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, was probably responsible for murdering ruler Ramesses III (who ruled from 1184-1155 BC).

The debate in the academic circles pertains to the fate of Unknown Man E when he committed his crime. According to some scholars, he went on to take his own life (during the trial) by either poisoning or hanging himself. Others believe he may have been sentenced to hanging due to his part in the conspiracy to Murdered the pharaoh.

In any case, the sequence of events alludes to the chance that the mummy belongs to Prince Pentawere the son of the pharaoh – whose death sentence was confirmed by contemporary papyri that documented the total affair.


The hypothesis of Prince Pentawere is rather strengthened by the DNA evidence that links Unknown Man E and Ramesses III in a father-son relationship.

And interestingly enough, careful analysis of the Screaming Mummy also revealed marks around his neck that suggests death by hanging (either by suicide or by the order of the judiciary). moreover, in spite of Unknown Man E’s own violent death,

His assassination attempt was also successful, as proven by slash marks on the neck of the pharaoh’s mummy. These scars were found during an investigation conducted by a team of scientists in 2012.

Coming to the historical aspect of affairs, the Judicial Papyrus of Turin (as termed by modern Egyptologists) pertains to the set of ancient Egyptian manuscripts that documented the murder trial of King Pentawere.

According to the text, the incredible trial was conducted by a group of royal butlers who remained loyal to Ramesses III. The judiciary method soon transformed into a sensational scope that targeted a large number of people – both men and women, several of whom were condemned to death or mutilation.

The conspirators in themselves usually hailed from the elite background, thus including members of the military, administration, and the royal harem.

The part relating to Pentawere in the Judicial Papyrus of Turin reads like this (as translated by A. de Buck) –

[Prince Pentawere] was brought in because he had been in collusion with Tiye, his mother, once she had plotted the matters with the women of the harem. [Pentawere] was placed before the butlers in order to be examined they found him guilty they left him wherever he was he took his own life.

Relating to the last part of the statement, it yet again brings us to the debate concerning Prince Pentawere and his ‘method’ of demise.

Anyhow, from the archaeologic perspective, the Screaming Mummy was originally found in the Deir el-Bahari tomb complex, way back in 1886. And in spite of the site being a part of the royal burial site of Thebes, the mummy in itself was rather unceremoniously mummified, an act that symbolically mirrored the disgraced life of the deceased.

To that end, the embalmers intentionally didn’t use preserving fluids or remove any of the inner organs, while leaving the corpse to dry in natron (and also pouring some resin into the open mouth).

At the same time, they wrapped the body in sheepskin, a material thought be ceremonially impure by the ancient Egyptians.

In any case, historians still do not know why the visage took a ‘screaming’ turn in the first place.

Finally, outlining the mystery of the Screaming Mummy, Egyptologist Zahi Hawass told Al-Ahram Weekly –

Such uncommon mummification has perplexed Egyptologists and no one has succeeded in knowing the story behind such a mummy until the launch of the Egyptian Mummy Project several years ago under my direction to create a complete database of forensic information related to the mummy collection at the Egyptian Museum.


1 The Pyramid Of Hellinikon

It seems strange to think that there are pyramids in Europe, but there are quite a few of them. In Greece alone there are 16 pyramids, of which the most well-known is the Hellinikon pyramid in Argos.

First mention of the pyramid was made in the writings of ancient Greek geographer Pausanias. In Description of Greece, he describes the structure as &ldquoa building made very like a pyramid, and on it in relief are wrought shields of the Argive shape.&rdquo He then mentions a battle that took place at the pyramid and the reconciliation that took place afterward. A &ldquocommon tomb&rdquo was built here for those that fell during the battle.

Not much is known known about the pyramid other than its estimated date of construction, which was first thought to be 3000 B.C., but was changed in the &rsquo90s to 2720 B.C. (with an error margin of 720 years). If this date is correct, then the Hellinikon pyramid might well be older than even the oldest Egyptian pyramid.

But the greatest mystery about this pyramid isn&rsquot its age&mdashit&rsquos that no one knows who built it or what it was actually used for. The biggest mystery seems to be that all excavation efforts have been abandoned, despite the significance that the structure may hold in understanding ancient history.


Watch the video: 10 Humans Who Were Preserved In Time (August 2022).