Recently a group of archaeologists made a very startling discovery that began when they thought they were scanning the mummy of an ancient Egyptian male priest named Hor-Djehuty. During the scan, the images revealed what appeared to be the bones of a small foot. When completing the scan, the team confirmed that the foot belonged to a tiny fetus in the womb of the deceased and mummified mother.
Archaeologists say this is the first time a deliberately mummified pregnant woman has been found. Who the mummy is and why she was mummified with her fetus still in the womb is a mystery. Scientists have dubbed the mummy the Mysterious Lady of the National Museum in Warsaw. The mummy and the sarcophagus were donated to the University of Warsaw in 1826 and stayed in the National Museum in Warsaw since 1917.
Archaeologists studying it have no idea why the fetus wasn’t removed from the abdomen during mummification. Originally, the elaborate sarcophagus led scientists to believe the mummy was female. However, in 1920 the name on the sarcophagus was translated, revealing the name Hor-Djehuty.
Who was in the sarcophagus came into question in 2016 when computer tomography revealed the mummy was not male. Researchers believe that at some point in the 19th century, a different mummy could have been placed in the sarcophagus in an attempt to pass it off as a more valuable artifact.
Scientists say it’s impossible to know exactly who the woman was or if she even came from the area where the coffin was found. They do know she was mummified with significant care and a set of amulets suggesting she was someone important. The woman died over 2000 years ago between the ages of 20 and 30, and the development of the fetus suggests she was between 26 and 30 weeks pregnant. The team is analyzing soft tissue to try and determine how she died.