If mummies could only talk, what would they tell us? Perhaps why one in the Brooklyn Museum of Art was wrapped up like a woman but turned out to be a male. Researchers at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y., examined four of the museum’s mummies using CT — or computed tomography — to see what they could find out about how they lived and died.
“Lady Hor,” as the mummy formerly thought of as Ms. has been known, dates from 712 to 660 B.C. The body was assumed to be female because its covering was in the shape of a woman and did not have a symbolic beard attached, as is customary. A pelvic examination revealed otherwise. It is unclear why the male was buried that way. Another curiosity was the discovery of a reed-like tube implanted in the chest of Pasebakhaienipet, the Count of Thebes, who was interred about 1188 to 909 B.C. Researchers theorized it was a postmortem addition to keep his chin up as he faced eternity.
The mummy's covering, in the shape of a woman, misled researchers. Photo by Adam Husted, courtesy Brooklyn Museum
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