Who is Amunet?
Amunet is the Egyptian mummy located at the Ohio History Center of the Ohio History Connection in Columbus. Ohio History Connection curators gave her this name as a sign of respect to identify her as a person. Amunet means “the hidden one”. This name was thought appropriate since we do not know her actual name. It is pronounced “Ah-moon-net”.
How old is Amunet?
Radiocarbon dating of Amunet’s wrappings indicate she lived sometime between 830 B.C. and 790 B.C. during the 23rd dynasty.
How did Amunet get to OHS?
Dr. J. Morton Howell, the United States’ first ambassador to Egypt was an Ohioan and, upon the resignation of his post, he was presented with two mummies and coffins to take back to Ohio; one came to Ohio History Connection the other went to the Dayton Museum.
Amunet is in the wrong coffin. Why?
Recent investigations by Egyptologist Cynthia May Sheikholeslami shows that Amunet was not the original occupant of the coffin in which she now resides. Howell had obtained the splendid coffin for his home state, but felt it needed a mummy to go with it. He arranged with French archaeologists working at the site of Deir el-Medina near Thebes to provide him with a mummy. They obliged and shipped it to the University of Chicago’s expedition headquarters in Luxor.
Who does belong in the coffin?
The coffin was for Neskhonspakhered. She lived and died during the 25th dynasty, circa 760 B.C. to 656 B.C. The outer coffin, in which this coffin would have been placed, is in the collections of the British Museum. Her inner coffin and mummy have not been located.
Why did OHS decide to CT scan the mummy?
Ohio History Connection was contacted to see if we had X-rays or CT scans of our mummy that we would like to add to an international Radiological Mummy Database. Unfortunately, even though our mummy had been scanned before, we did not have the data, so we approached The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center to see if they would be interested in doing a CT scan. They were and the amazing imagery they have provided is making it possible for us to tell Amunet's story.
What does the CT Scan tell us about Amunet’s life?
- She died between 35-45 years old. She was 5 feet 2 inches tall.
- She had a symmetrical face.
- She had really great teeth.
- Only one small fracture present on a lower tooth and perhaps some periodontal infection.
- Her bone joints don’t show wear typical of manual labor.
- She had some normal arthritis.
- Had and infection at some point in her life. No trauma evident.
- May have died of natural causes.
- From these new discoveries it appears that Amunet lived a full and comfortable life, which was unusual for the time period.
Why did ancient Egyptians mummify the deceased?
Mummification was seen as religiously important so the soul could identify the body and spiritually reenter it. The body had to survive in order for the deceased to survive in the afterlife.
What does the mummification process involve?
- For Amunet, the brain was extracted through her nose.
- Normally organs were removed but in Amunet’s case the lungs and liver remain.
- The body was dried and coated with oils. Amunet had linen packing added to retain her original body contours.
- What may be lotus stems and blossoms were placed on her shins and over her knees. The lotus is symbolic of rebirth and/or creation. However it has been proposed that the placement also helped the embalmers create a more life like form.
- Her body was then wrapped in linen.