The pair of mummified legs put on display at the Egyptian Museum located in Turin were supposedly belonging to the favorite wife of the ancient Egypt’s ruler, Ramses II. New evidence supports the claim that the mummified remains belong to Queen Nefertari, according to a team composed of international archaeologists.
Professor Joann Fletcher and Dr. Stephen Buckley from the Department of Archaeology at the University of York were two of the most skilled professionals who took part in the extensive analysis of the mummified legs.
According to Professor Fletcher, the main role of Queen Nefertari was to play the part of a beautiful décor which topped off the status of the pharaoh. However, he also believes that apart from being a simple bystander, she also exerted some power behind the throne.
Following her death, the queen was given a highly-decorated tomb because of her status as Ramses’ II favorite wife. However, the tomb raiders plundered Nefertari’s final resting place, which was a common occurrence in the ancient times of Egypt. Nevertheless, several items were left behind and later discovered by Ernesto Schiaparelli, an Italian archaeologist. The highlight of the 1904 discovery was a pair of mummified legs.
Although the remains have never been scientifically tested and investigated, the pair of mummified legs was sent at the museum in Turin, claiming to belong to Queen Nefertari. It wasn’t until recently that scientists got together in an effort to properly identify the remains. The team of researchers used several techniques to study the pair of mummified legs including genetics, paleopathology, chemistry, radiocarbon dating, Egyptology, and anthropology.
Professor Fletcher expresses her disappointment in discovering only the mummified legs of the ancient queen.
“Having studied the woman, and having looked at so many images of her beautiful face, I think there is a sense of immense irony that physically this is what we have got”, says Professor Joann Fletcher.
Because only the knees remained, the team had to work with the little that they had. Nevertheless, the results support that the mummified legs belong to a woman who died at approximately 40 years old. Moreover, the chemical analysis of the embalming materials also suggests that the preservation ritual took place during Ramses II’ reign. Ultimately, the collection of other items discovered in the tomb along with the mummified legs indicates that the final resting place does indeed belong to Queen Nefertari.
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