Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Short Story: A Strange Way to Mummify: The Mystery of Egypt's 'Screaming Mummy'
The real story behind the unusual mummification of Unknown Man E, now on special display at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square, revealed. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
Although the Grand Egyptian Museum overlooking Giza Plateau will celebrate a soft opening in December, it is the Egyptian Museum which will remain one of Egypt’s archaeological icons. To highlight some of its distinguished treasured collections, the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir overlooking Giza Plateau is to exhibit at its foyer and on a weekly basis, three of its artefacts that were located in a hidden display area, repatriated from abroad and stored in the basement. This week the mummy of Unknown Man E and a gilded cartonnage mask with a shroud are the selected objects going on special display.
Elham Salah, head of the Museums Sector at the Ministry of Antiquities, said the gilded cartonnage mask with a shroud was repatriated from the United States in 2017. The shroud looks like a net with beads used since the 21st Dynasty as a mummy cover. Meanwhile, Unknown Man E is wrapped in sheepskin with trimmed toe nails dyed with henna and an open mouth which makes the mummy look as though he had been poisoned. The mummy possibly belongs to Prince Pentewere, a son of the 20th Dynasty King Ramses III, who had been involved in a conspiracy against his father.
“The gruesome mummy of Unknown Man E, also known as the ‘Screaming Mummy’, has long puzzled scholars,” renowned Egyptologist Zahi Hawass told Al-Ahram Weekly, adding that this particular mummy is surrounded in mystery. Although he was re-buried in the royal mummy cache of Deir Al-Bahari, he was not wrapped in the usual fine linen bandages like the rest of the mummies. Instead, he was wrapped in sheepskin, which was considered impure by the ancient Egyptians. His hands and feet were tied with leather thongs. He was not even mummified, but was merely left to dry in natron and then had some resin poured into his open mouth.
“Such unusual mummification has perplexed Egyptologists and no one has succeeded in knowing the story behind such a mummy until the launch of the Egyptian Mummy Project several years ago under my direction to create a complete database of forensic information related to the mummy..... READ MORE.