Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Mummified Remains of Asru

One of the most medically studied mummies is that of a lady called, Asru. She was a Chantress at the Karnak Temple complex which is dedicated to the god, Amun, in around 1000-700BC (Third Intermediate Period). She is currently displayed at the Manchester Museum, where she’s been since 1825. Before being donated to the museum, however, Asru had already been unwrapped (probably in the early 19th century); this made her a perfect candidate for scientific study, as there were no linen bandages obstructing the way to obtaining good tissue samples. Even though the tests that were conducted don’t tell us much about mummification techniques during that time, it does provide a much greater understanding of how people lived in ancient Egypt. The tests showed that her lungs contained a hydatid cyst and damage caused by inhaling too much sand, which would’ve caused her chest pains and difficulty in breathing. Asru would’ve also experienced chronic back pain due to osteoarthritis, a fractured vertebra and slipped disk. The chantress may have died from guinea worm disease as there was evidence of this in her intestines, or possibly from shistosomiasis which was made obvious from X-ray images that show clear calcification of her bladder wall. Even with these complaints Asru lived to a ripe age of around 50-60 years old. Evidently, even though working in a temple was likely a good living in ancient Egypt, she suffered from many ailments that would’ve caused her much pain.
A reconstruction of Asru's skull was also made.
[Above two photos are of Asru, from the Manchester Museum, United Kingdom]


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tindalsam2012 said...

I have been doing ancient egypt at school. I was set homework of dong a project based on a visit to the British Museum. For this project, I did a blog and on this blog, I am mummifying a fish.

see the blog here

King Tut said...

Very informative