'Screaming Mummy' Mystery Solved? Famous Skeleton May Be Hanged Prince Who Plotted Murder of Pharaoh

Tuesday, 13 February 2018 - 11:14AM
Science News
Tuesday, 13 February 2018 - 11:14AM
'Screaming Mummy' Mystery Solved? Famous Skeleton May Be Hanged Prince Who Plotted Murder of Pharaoh
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Image credit: YouTube
If there's one thing missing from The Mummy, it's a good dash of scientific analysis.

Thankfully, the real world has this covered: after 140 years of examination, DNA evidence has finally revealed the identity of the nightmare that is the "Screaming Mummy."

Officially called Unknown Man E, the corpse that's better known as the Screaming Mummy was first discovered in the Deir El-Bahari mortuary in 1886, and has been baffling archeologists ever since thanks to the terrifying manner in which he died and was buried.

Based on marks found on his neck, it seems clear that the Screaming Mummy suffered from death by hanging, which implies that he wasn't exactly a popular guy at the time. The fact that he "enjoyed" mummification and burial at all is a little bizarre, but things get even more complicated—for some reason, instead of being wrapped in traditional cloth, he was bound in sheepskin, which archeologists believe to be a sign that he was considered in some way unclean.

As if that wasn't enough, the Screaming Mummy had his arms and legs bound in leather. Clearly, nobody wanted this guy to have a fun time in the afterlife.

According to Bob Brier of the University of Long Island in New York:

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"Two forces were acting upon this mummy: one to get rid of him and the other to try to preserve him."
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Now, scientists may have found a reason for the Screaming Mummy's strange mummification. DNA from the corpse has been linked to King Ramses III, an Egyptian Pharaoh who died amid some controversy when his throat was cut and part of his toe was severed.

The DNA evidence reveals that Unknown Man E was in fact Ramses III's son, which could explain why he was mummified despite clearly having run afoul of some very powerful people.

Records from the time suggest that Ramses III may have been assassinated by his son, Prince Pentaware, alongside his second wife, Queen Tiye.

While it's impossible at this stage to confirm this one way or the other, the DNA evidence alongside the manner of the Screaming Mummy's burial suggests that he could well be the murderous Prince Pentaware.

That said, ancient Egyptian politics were often messy, and there's no guarantee that the Screaming Mummy wasn't actually Pentaware's brother, legitimate or otherwise. With the resources we currently have, there's no way to further untangle this ancient mystery, but we have managed to get a little closer to the truth thanks to the wonders of modern genetic science.

Either way, this is still a better Egyptian horror story than that Tom Cruise movie from last year.
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