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Child-like Mummy in National Maritime Museum is just Mud and Grain

Child-like Mummy in National Maritime Museum is just Mud and Grain

The 3,000-year-old mummy was one of two sent for a CT scan at Rambam Hospital in Haifa, Israel, by the city's National Maritime Museum. CT scan revealed the remains of a child-like mummy were actually just mud and grain packed together and shaped to represent Osiris, the Egyptian god of death.  

The other sarcophagus was revealed to contain a mummified bird, most likely a falcon – a creature closely associated with Horus, the god of kingship and the sky.

Marcia Javitt, director of medical imaging at Rambam, initially thought the larger mummy might be human as it 'looked like a small child'. 

Dr Javitt said: 'We could identify the shape, form and bones of what looks like a bird. I wasn't expecting that.'

Both sarcophagi had long been part of the museum's collection, but staff doubted the official record which suggested they contained mummified hearts. 

But what they discovered was a mummy made of plant matter, apparently meant to represent Osiris, the ancient Egyptian lord of the underworld and god of the dead.

Ron Hillel from Haifa Museums said: 'It's what is known as a 'grain mummy', also known as a 'corn mummy'.

'These contain mud and grains, and were shaped like a mummy, hence the name', Hillel explained, adding 'they were symbolic of the god Osiris'.

The circumstances in which the mummies were originally discovered before finding their way to the museum remains unclear.Researchers say it is possible they were buried in a tomb, perhaps even a Pharaoh's tomb, as an offering to the gods on behalf of the deceased.

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