Nav: Home

Mummified remains identified as Egyptian Queen Nefertari

December 05, 2016

A team of international archaeologists believe a pair of mummified legs on display in an Italian museum may belong to Egyptian Queen Nefertari - the favourite wife of the pharaoh Ramses II.

The team, which included Dr Stephen Buckley and Professor Joann Fletcher from the University of York's Department of Archaeology, used radiocarbon dating, anthropology, palaeopathology, genetics and chemical analysis to identify the remains.

They conclude that "the most likely scenario is that the mummified knees truly belong to Queen Nefertari".

As the favourite wife of the pharaoh Ramses II, Nefertari was provided with a beautifully decorated tomb in the Valley of the Queens to which Professor Fletcher was recently given access.

Although plundered in ancient times, the tomb, first excavated by Italian archaeologists in 1904, still contained objects which were sent to the Egyptian Museum in Turin.

This included a pair of mummified legs which could have been part of a later interment as was often the case in other tombs in the region. But as the legs had never been scientifically investigated, it was decided to undertake the recent study to find out if the legs could actually represent all that remained of one of Egypt's most legendary queens.

The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, revealed that the legs are those of an adult woman of about 40 years of age.

Dr Buckley's chemical analysis also established that the materials used to embalm the legs are consistent with 13th Century BC mummification traditions, which when taken in conjunction with the findings of the other specialists involved, led to the identification.

Professor Fletcher said: "This has been the most exciting project to be part of, and a great privilege to be working alongside with some of the world's leading experts in this area.

"Both Stephen and myself have a long history studying Egypt's royal mummies, and the evidence we've been able to gather about Nefertari's remains not only complements the research we've been doing on the queen and her tomb but really does allow us to add another piece to the jigsaw of what is actually known about Egyptian mummification."
-end-


University of York

Related Archaeology Articles:

Study could provide first clues about the social lives of extinct human relatives
A new study from The Australian National University (ANU) of the bony head-crests of male gorillas could provide some of the first clues about the social structures of our extinct human relatives, including how they chose their sexual partners.
Archaeologists use drones to trial virtual reality
Archaeologists at The Australian National University and Monash University are conducting a trial of new technology to build a 3-D virtual-reality map of one of Asia's most mysterious sites -- the Plain of Jars in Laos.
Archaeology under the canopy
UCSB's Anabel Ford has devoted her career to conservation and research at the ancient Maya city.
Ancient rice may hold key to solving the puzzle of the settlement of Madagascar
Archaeologists studying the distribution of ancient rice believe they may be close to solving one of the enduring mysteries of the ancient world -- how people of South East Asian origin ended up living on the African island of Madagascar, 6,000 km away.
High altitude archaeology: Prehistoric paintings revealed
Archaeologists at the University of York have undertaken pioneering scans of the highest prehistoric paintings of animals in Europe.
More Archaeology News and Archaeology Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#534 Bacteria are Coming for Your OJ
What makes breakfast, breakfast? Well, according to every movie and TV show we've ever seen, a big glass of orange juice is basically required. But our morning grapefruit might be in danger. Why? Citrus greening, a bacteria carried by a bug, has infected 90% of the citrus groves in Florida. It's coming for your OJ. We'll talk with University of Maryland plant virologist Anne Simon about ways to stop the citrus killer, and with science writer and journalist Maryn McKenna about why throwing antibiotics at the problem is probably not the solution. Related links: A Review of the Citrus Greening...