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3500-year-old mummy identified

Egypt announces its discovery of Queen Hatshepsut's mummy, its most famous female pharaoh, who died nearly 3,500 years ago, reports Tavishi Paitandy Rastogi.

world Updated: Jun 28, 2007 05:47 IST
Tavishi Paitandy Rastogi

Egypt on Wednesday announced that it has discovered the mummy of Queen Hatshepsut, its most famous female pharaoh, who died nearly 3,500 years ago.

Culture Minister Farouk Hosni and chief archaeologist Zahir Hawass said this was the country’s most important find since the discovery of boy king Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922. “The discovery of Hatshepsut’s mummy is surely one of the greatest after that of King Tutankhamun’s tomb,” said Hawass.

He said the mummy would answer several questions associated with the death of the queen: “Her death and disappearance has for long remained a mystery and this discovery will put a lot of things in history in order.”

The mummy was found in 1903 in a tomb in the Valley of the Kings, where Tutankhamun was also buried. It was believed to be that of the queen’s wet nurse Sitr-In. It was only a year ago that a scientific process began in a special lab in Cairo, created by Discovery Channel, to establish its identity. What clinched it was a single tooth preserved in a wooden box inscribed with the queen’s name. The box was found in her father Thutmose I’s tomb in 1881.

The tooth fit the mummy’s jaw. This confirmed it was Hatshepsut’s mummy as no two persons can have the same tooth make, Hawass said.

And if you are wondering what the queen looked like, Hawass said: “The mummy tells us that she was a fat lady with a lot of health problems like diabetes and bone malfunctioning.” She possibly died of bone cancer.