Egyptian archaeologists have announced a unique discovery of three mummies : including the body of a young woman and two children inside her body, all three placed in the same coffin.
According to the determination, this mummy belongs to a young girl about 14-17 years old, who lived during the Late Era of ancient Egypt (from about 712 to 332 BC). The special thing is that this mummy was excavated and opened in 1908, but it took nearly a century for researchers to discover a second fetus inside the young woman’s chest.
Initially, during excavations in 1908, archaeologists discovered an intact fetus that was carefully bandaged. In addition, between the girl’s legs there is a part of the placenta. Researchers then performed an autopsy on the mummy and discovered the fetus’s skull was stuck in the birth canal, suggesting that the girl died from complications during childbirth.
In 2019, when researchers scanned the mummy to take pelvic measurements, that was when the second fetus was discovered inside the girl’s chest. Regarding the strange position of the fetus, researchers believe that it may be due to the diaphragm and other tissues decomposing during the mummification process, creating conditions for the fetus to move upward.
The main author of the study – Francine Margolis expressed: “This is the first case of such a mummy discovered. Although many women died from difficult childbirth in ancient times, there has never been one.” No evidence or tombs have been found in Egypt, and this is also a case of twin pregnancy .”
The analysis results also revealed that this Egyptian girl was only about 1m52 tall and weighed from 45 to 55kg when she was alive, a small body ratio compared to normal Egyptians of a similar age. These information suggest that her small size and young age may have contributed to the girl’s death.
Although childbirth in ancient Egypt is little recorded, rare evidence suggests that having twins was not desirable. A papyrus from 1070 to 713 BC contains a spell to help mothers prevent twins.