The mysteries of history can be uncovered all around us—in an old attic, in the ground beneath our feet, or even inside an already discovered piece of history that's been sitting around for over 100 years. That's precisely what happened at Sydney University in Sydney, Australia! Archaeologists lifted the lid on a sarcophagus that'd been sitting around, presumably empty, for about 160 years. Who knows what they were expecting to find inside, but it wasn't a 2,500-year-old mummy.
How could anyone have missed that?!
Well, to be fair, the mummy was left in an incredibly tattered state. The archaeologists who discovered the sarcophagus over 150 years ago may not have been aware they were handling human remains. Grave robbers had ransacked the tomb where the mummy was buried and destroyed the deceased individual's body in search of the jewels and valuables that are sometimes buried alongside it. Oftentimes, the grave robbers would often simply throw the mummy out, so no one at Sydney University batted an eye at a coffin recorded as "empty."
FYI, Egyptian mummies were torn to pieces by ancient tomb robbers like this because their bodies were wrapped adorned with amulets made with precious metals and jewels.— Iron Spike (@Iron_Spike) March 27, 2018
You would be hard-pressed to find a modern tomb-robber that would destroy a mummy this extensively, but mummies weren't even remotely valuable at the time this sarcophagus was looted.— Iron Spike (@Iron_Spike) March 27, 2018
Of course, a lot of time might have been saved if someone had just checked the coffin to be sure.
I thought you looked?— Armatus Rebellio (@ArmatusRebellio) March 27, 2018
I DID look?
How could you NOT see the dead body in there?
It was... small. And wrapped up.
IT TOOK UP THE WHOLE COFFIN!
But, did you find your keys?
Ok, let's get outta here. https://t.co/Uuvf5cqTrd
Now the real work begins...
Researchers are eager to find out who this mummy is! The hieroglyphic markings on the sarcophagus indicate it was made for a High Priestess named Mer-Neith-it-es, but that doesn't necessarily mean she ended up in it. Professor and Radiologist John Magnussen is piecing together the puzzle using ancient clues!
"It's older, & it's got some early degenerative changes & the sacrum is fused, so we know it's definitely an adult,"— 🔍taheati (@taheati) March 27, 2018
This was important news for the archaeologists."We know that Mer-Neith-it-es herself, the priestess for whom this coffin was made, was an adult," Dr Fraser said" https://t.co/SK00zzQdC4
Egyptologist Connie Lord is holding out hope for a good toenail (aren't we all):
There could even be toenails which would be thrilling — that's what I want. The toenails are fantastic for radiocarbon dating.