Enigmatic Egyptian mummy of an infant throws new hints at ancient medicine | Photos

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  - Sputnik World, 1920


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A scientific study has found new evidence of the medicine used in ancient Egypt. This is the first recorded example of a bandaged wound on a mummified body, which could offer more information about ancient medical practices.

The researchers discovered the wound dressings on the mummy of a girl, no more than four years old, who would have died about 2,000 years ago.

According to CT scans published in International Journal of Paleopathology, the mummy has a bandage on the lower part of the left leg. The wound seemed to have become infected when the girl died, as scans showed traces of pus.

The mummy that was extracted from the Tomb of Alina in the Faiyum Oasis, located southwest of Cairo, surprised scientists for being the first time they find evidence of a bandaged wound in a mummy.

“It gives us clues as to how [los antiguos egipcios] treated such infections or abscesses during his life (…) It was very exciting because we did not expect it. Nothing like this had ever been described before.” explained to Insider the director of the Institute for Mummy Studies in Bolzona, Italy and author of the study, Albert Zink.

The researchers do not rule out the possibility that some specific herbs or ointments were applied to treat inflammation in this area. According to Albert Zink this can be checked by taking samples from the area to reveal what caused the infection and how people treated it at the time. Though this would involve unwrapping the mummy or collecting a sample with a biopsy needle.

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What remains an enigma for researchers is the precise explanation for why the bandages were left in place in this case, given that they generally do not survive the mummification process. One of the theories carried by researchers is that the embalmers intentionally applied the bandage, as the ancient Egyptians believed that the mummified body should be as perfect as possible for life after death.

“Maybe they somehow tried to continue the healing process into the afterlife … There are always some surprises when we study mummies,” Zink said.

Scientists believe that in ancient Egypt they did not know things that we would now take for granted such as: the functioning of the heart, the infections that cause microbes or the cells that cause cancer, but they did have an expert understanding of medical practices in the treatment of wounds and injuries, proof of this are some papyri that were found over the decades.

A sarcophagus (file) - Sputnik World, 1920, 10.24.2020

Ancient Egyptian papyrus on life after death deciphered

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