This 4,000-Year-Old Mummy Just Solved a Century-Old Mystery

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A team of forensic scientists has managed to extract DNA from a 4,000-year-old mummy, and their finding has solved a century-old mystery of its ransacked tomb.

The Egyptian mummy wasn’t a fully preserved corpse, but rather a decapitated, mutilated, bandage-wrapped head that archaeologists found on top of a coffin when they excavated a tomb back in 1915. And that was the source of the mystery.

As the researchers explained in a paper published March 1 in the journal Genes, the tomb belonged to an Egyptian Middle Kingdom governor named Djehutynakht. But by the time modern scientists found the tomb, it had been ransacked; it was robbed in ancient times. In an article describing the discovery, The New York Times reported that the robbers had set the place on fire “to cover their tracks.” 

All that remained of the tomb’s occupants was a dismembered torso in one corner of the tomb and a head placed on top of Djehutynakht’s coffin. Read more.