Scan of Egyptian mummy reveals brain, but no heart

If I only had a heart. Sounds like something out of the Wizard of Oz, but there’s no man behind the curtain for this 1,700 year old Egyptian mummy who was found with a brain, but no heart.

A report was actually done on this mummy in 2012, where researchers and illustrator Victoria Lywood were able to give a face to there’s no name. But this is the first time digital scans have been done.


New CT scans have been able to provide more information about the unidentified mummy who was found in the 19th century in Luxor. The female mummy now resides in McGill University in Montreal. What’s caught the attention of researchers are the two plaques found on the mummy, which may be a replacement of some of the internal organs the embalmers removed.

1,700 years ago, Egypt was under Roman rule, so traditional embalming was on the decrease. But the family of the woman who died between the ages of 30 – 50 kept with their routes and had the old procedure done. The embalmers cut through the perineum and removed the intestines, liver, stomach and heart, but the brain’s still there.


Spices and lichen were found on her body before she was wrapped in linen and cloth. The two plaques found from the scans are situated by her heart and abdomen, according to Live Science:

“The embalmers may have thought the plaque would help by ritually healing the hole they had created in the woman’s perineum, the researchers speculate. By doing so they may have been trying to give her “a more favorable afterlife, healed and protected as she was by the embalmer’s additional efforts,” the researchers write in their paper.”

Check out more about this discovery on the Live Science website.


One thought on “Scan of Egyptian mummy reveals brain, but no heart

  1. Pingback: Weekly archaeology roundup 11/04/2014 | Unearthed

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