Saturday, 14 May 2016

Tiny coffin containing fetus shows ancient Egyptians valued unborn

For more than 100 years, the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England, has been in possession of a 44-centimetre-long ancient Egyptian coffin containing a mysterious package.

Bound in bandages and coated with black resin, the contents of the coffin were long thought to be internal organs, removed during the embalming process.
Recently, using cutting-edge imaging techniques, the museum discovered the coffin holds what was a fetus at just 16 to 18 weeks gestation, by far the youngest academically verified fetus to be found at an ancient Egyptian burial site.

The fetus was likely the result of a miscarriage. It's impossible for scientists to determine the gender. Although the cedar coffin has deteriorated, it's clear to the museum's experts that it was painstakingly carved. It's considered a perfect miniature example of a Late Period (664-525 BC) ancient Egyptian wooden coffin.

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