Experts have finally identified to whom the pair of mummified legs found in Queen Nefertari’s belonged to. Although to some it may appear obvious that the legs belonged to the queen herself, researchers were not entirely sure since many tombs were later reused.
As such, the mystery of the mummified legs lasted since 1904, since the tomb of Queen Nefertari was first discovered in the Valley of the Queens in Egypt. However, researchers decided to finally solve this mystery and after extensive testing, they published their results in the journal PLOS One.
Archaeologists conducted a number of X-ray scans as well as radiocarbon dating and even chemical analysis of both the residue of the wrappings and the contextual clues found in the crypt. The radiocarbon dating revealed that the legs trace back to the same period of when Queen Nefertari was alive.
This finding coupled with how the remains were buried, allowed archaeologists to conclude that the legs did belong to a female member of the royal family. Researchers examining all the objects within the tomb who were also familiar with the specific Ramesside mummification traditions determined that the mummified legs were once part of the whole body of Queen Nefertari.
The queen was the wife of Pharaoh Ramses II and was laid in a very lavish tomb during the 19th Dynasty of ancient Egypt, around 13th century B.C., at the time of her death. Unfortunately, the tomb was eventually ransacked by robbers.
In order to steal the jewelry that she was wearing, it is very likely that the thieves dismembered her body. All the precious items and materials were stolen. The only things left behind were several funerary statues and her knees apparently.
Joann Fletcher, from the University of York, stated that the uncertainty regarding the original owner of the legs was due to the fact that many tombs were later reused for the burial of other members of the royal family. Archaeologists were cautious to conclude who the legs belonged to even though they were aware that the tomb belonged to Queen Nefertari thanks to the hieroglyphs on the walls of the tomb.
What do you make about this discovery? Should have scientists acted more quickly in this regard?
Image credit: Joanna Fletcher