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3600-year-old mummy discovered in Egypt Last Updated : 14 Feb 2014 11:12:21 AM IST 3600-year-old mummy discovered in Egypt
Mummification of bodies was originally a natural process in Egypt and elsewhere Egyptians also believed that the soul returned to the body as long as it was recognizable.
The find came during routine excavation work at the tomb of Djehuty, treasure holder for Queen Hatshepsut, at Dra Abul-Naga necropolis.
Ancient Egyptians started making mummies around 3400BC. In 2600BC ancient Egyptians finally figured out that if they took out the body's internal organs, the mummies would last instead of rot.
Many cultures practiced mummification, or preservation of a dead body. Other civilizations have produced mummies -- some even before the Egyptians. Research shows many Incas brought their dead to high mountains in Peru, where the dryness and cold preserved the bodies. The body of the Chinese aristocrat Lady Cheng, more than 2,000 years old, was preserved by immersion in an embalming fluid that has made her the best-preserved ancient mummy known to modern science.
In a statement, Mohammed Ibrahim said the rare find in a preserved wooden sarcophagus dates back to 1600 BC, when the Pharaonic 17th Dynasty reigned.
He said the mummy appears to belong to a high official. The sarcophagus is engraved with hieroglyphs and decorated with inscriptions of birds' feathers.
Prosecutors accused nine people including three Germans of smuggling stone samples from pyramids.
The exact identity of the well-preserved mummy will now be studied, Ibrahim said, adding that it was discovered by a Spanish mission in collaboration with the Egyptian antiquities ministry.
Antiquities department head Ali Al-Asfar said the two-meter sarcophagus still bears its original coloring and writings.
Meanwhile, Egypt's top prosecutor referred three Germans to criminal court on charges of smuggling and damaging antiquities and six Egyptians for acting as their accessories. Hisham Barakat said authorities issued arrest warrants for the alleged German thieves, who fled to their country after the incident. He said authorities would communicate with Germany to restore the pieces they say were taken last April under the pretext of use for research.
The Egyptian defendants are already in detention. Barakat says the Germans, along with their Egyptian guides, entered the famed pyramids of Giza with permits to visit but not excavate, and left with samples of stone from the ramparts of two tombs and the burial room of King Khufu.
Egyptian archaeologist Monica Hanna says the German researchers wanted to use the samples prove their hypothesis
in a documentary they later filmed, which says that the pyramids were built by a people that pre-dates the ancient
he online documentary, removed in the wake of the controversy, showed one researcher inside the inner chambers of the Khufu pyramid, taking samples from the king's cartouche.
Egypt has experienced a security vacuum since its 2011 uprising. Thousands of artifacts have been stolen.
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