King Amenhotep I’s mummy reveals new secrets! King Amenhotep I’s mummy reveals new secrets!
January 03, 2022
The secrets of the mummy of Amenhotep I remained hidden under its intact wrappings and funeral face mask for thousands of years. Now, they have been revealed in the scientific study published by Dr. Zahi Hawass, the icon of Egyptology, and Dr. Sahar Saleem, Professor of Radiology at Faculty of Medicine at Cairo University.
The team working on the mummy used advanced x-ray technology, CT scanning, as well as advanced computer software programs to digitally unwrap the 3,500-year-old mummy in a safe and non-invasive method. The study revealed, for the very first time, the face of King Amenhotep I, his age, health condition, as well as many secrets about the mummy's unique mummification and reburial.
The use of modern tools enabled the team to virtually unwrap the mummy of King Amenhotep I. The study succeeded to reveal the face of King Amenhotep I, and proved the facial resemblance with his father Ahmose I. The study also accurately determined the age of King Amenhotep I at the time of his death and estimated him to be 35 years old then. Additionally, the study proved that the pharaoh was in good health and had no diseases or injuries which could indicate the cause of death.
The results revealed exciting information about the distinctive embalming method of King Amenhotep I, as it became clear that the position of the crossed forearms on the body of the mummy of kings, called the Osiris position, began with his mummy. This Osiris pose continued in use throughout the New Kingdom Period. The study proved that the brain is still present in the skull, unlike most of the kings of the New Kingdom where the brain was removed, and embalming materials and resins were placed inside the skull. The accurate three-dimensional radiographs revealed the presence of 30 amulets inside the mummy and between its coils, as well as the presence of a belt under the back of the king's mummy consisting of 34 gold beads.
The study also revealed the precise technique of the ancient Egyptians in making the mummy's funeral mask and placing precious stones on it. The scans were able to show the great care given by the priests of the Dynasty 21 in re-burying the mummy of King Amenhotep I, preserving the golden ornaments, and placing many amulets inside the mummy.
King Amenhotep I was the son of King Ahmose I, conqueror of the Hyksos and the founder of the New Kingdom Period, known as the Golden Age of ancient Egypt. Amenhotep I took the throne after his father’s death and ruled the country for 21 years (c. 1525 to 1504 BCE). The mummy of King Amenhotep I was found in 1881 in the Royal cache at Deir-el Bahri in Luxor, where the priests of Dynasty 21 reburied and hid the mummies of many previous kings and queens to protect them from the recurrent tomb theft.
After their transfer to Cairo, all the royal mummies were unwrapped between year 1881 and 1896, except for the mummy of King Amenhotep I. It was the only royal mummy that has not been unwrapped in the modern era in order to preserve the unique beauty of this mummy covered with a funerary mask and garlands of colorful flowers.