June 2009 Archeology Headlines: Mummy and Canaanite Tomb

At the Brooklyn Museum, archeologists have come to an epiphany regarding the gender of a mummy that dates back 2,000 years. Museum officials have been advertising one of their preserved bodies from Egypt as Lady Hor, but after subjecting the mummy to a CT scan, the ‘lady’ is actually a man.

2,000-Year-Old Mummy’s Gender Switch

Uncovered 70 years ago in Thebes, it had always been assumed that the mummy was a woman because the coffin did not have the typical beard ornamentation associated with male mummies.

The scans took place at the North Shore University Hospital, where four mummies underwent a CT. It was a great shock when researchers learned that Lady Hor was equipped with a penis and scrotum. Interestingly, no one ever thought to question the gender of the mummy , a fault that has remained uncorrected since 1937. Due to the discovery, archeologists will adjust the way they tell whether or not a mummy is a male or female.

The discovery of Lady Hor’s true gender wasn’t the only thing that researchers learned from the CT scans , a 5-inch reed was found stuck in the esophagus of a mummy named Pasebakhaienipet. This was something that had never been seen before and this detail went unnoticed for quite some time.

Using the CT scan machines have opened many doors for researchers and permitted them to investigate avenues that were never available to them at first. The scans also allow researchers to identify medical ailments linked to the mummies. In some cases, they can actually pinpoint the cause of death. With the help of the scans, researchers may also analyze information to prepare a three-dimensional reconstruction of facial tissues, much like some of the details that scans revealed in the case of King Tut. In the end, the additional information that researchers can sort through, an experience at a museum could become very different.

4,000-Year Old Canaanite Tomb Found

In Bethlehem, construction workers got quite a surprise when they uncovered the burial of two individuals , still intact. A Canaanite tomb dating back 4,000 years has been found in a house that workers were planning on renovating within the traditional town of Jesus’ birth. The ancient final resting place was uncovered in an untouched state. Inside, researchers came across an array of interesting items, including clay pots, plates, beads and the bones of two humans.

As workers assessed the dwelling situated close to the Church of the Nativity, a hole was found. This entryway led to a grave that measured about one meter (yard) under the ground. Immediately, they contacted the proper authorities, which quickly arrived to take pictures of the grave before extracting the contents. The grave is thought to belong to the Early Bronze Age , a time period associated with dates between 1,900 BC and 2,200 BC.

Overall, the find it thought rather important when it comes to the life of the Canaanites, as researchers can capture more of a glimpse into how individuals from Biblical times lived. It’s pretty hard to find a grave that is still intact. Usually, looters have spoiled the artifacts. In the end, the finds will be kept in the Bethlehem Peace Center, a cultural center located nearby where the discovery of the tomb took place.