Estonian Researchers Confused by Missing Hearts in 2 Mummies
A new study carried out by researchers at the University of Tartu raised questions about two Egyptian child mummies with missing hearts. The mummies were found at the university’s museum.
Many experts took part in the study that relied on radiological investigation, carbon dating and 3D modeling, as well as a DNA investigation in order to collect further information about the mummies.
The mummies were brought to Estonia by German scholar Otto Friedrich von Richter, who had traveled in Egypt during the early 19th century.
The researchers published their findings in the PLOS ONE journal.
The study revealed that one of the mummies dates to the end of fifth until the first half of the second century BC, while the other dates to the mid-fourth until the mid-first century BC.
The researchers couldn't determine the cause of death of the children, but they raised questions about an uncommon mummification practice: the removal of hearts.
In most mummification processes, Egyptians used to keep the heart of the mummy, in adults and children alike, because it plays a major role in the afterlife.
The researchers suggested that “the hearts may be firmly embedded in the resinous substance, thus rendering it invisible; or they were inadvertently removed, and were not returned to the body, as in other Egyptian mummies.”