HomeoldImaging technology of tiny coffin demonstrates the value ancient Egyptians “placed on...

Imaging technology of tiny coffin demonstrates the value ancient Egyptians “placed on life even in the first weeks of its inception”

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Back in mid-2014, I wrote a post that was a huge hit! It was called “The Hearts of the Ancients Were Not Hardened to the Deaths of Children and Preborn: What About Us?”

The heart of the story is this: it is sometimes claimed that because there were so many deaths of young children, as well as miscarriages, in the ancient world, that the ancients became “hardened” to such tragedies. This is what Egypt Centre curator Carolyn Graves-Brown had to say.

But a CT scan of an ancient Egyptian artifact revealed something truly astonishing: a little red-faced mummy wrapped in bandages, which looked like a small child wearing a yellow and blue striped wig! This incredible discovery was made by Jonathan Symcox, writing for the Mirror, a British publication.

“However, it is evident from the fact that foetuses and infants were interred with care that such losses were not regarded as trivial,” Graves-Brown posited. “It is plausible to hypothesize that the probable foetus within W1013 represents the tragic loss of a child; an occasion of profound grief and public mourning.”

This leads us to a recent “aha” moment at The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England. Once again, the application of modern imaging technology, specifically computed tomography, enabled researchers to gain insight into the interior of a small wooden coffin. Their observations revealed the presence of a deceased infant, estimated to have been approximately 18 weeks gestational age, who had undergone embalming and burial. The researchers hypothesize that the infant may have been the result of a miscarriage.

According to the Fitzwilliam Museum press release

The micro-CT scan reveals that the foetus has its arms crossed over its chest. This, in conjunction with the intricacy of the tiny coffin and its decoration, provides clear indications of the importance and time given to this burial in Egyptian society.

In a subsequent interview, Julie Dawson, Head of Conservation at the Fitzwilliam Museum, expanded upon her initial remarks.

The use of noninvasive modern technology to investigate this extraordinary archaeological find has yielded striking evidence of how an unborn child might be viewed in ancient Egyptian society. The meticulous preparation of this burial clearly demonstrates the value placed on life even in the earliest stages of its inception.

A narrative published on AOL elucidated the circumstances that gave rise to this occurrence

The coffin was interred at Giza and is likely to have been constructed between 664 and 525 BC. It was unearthed in 1907 and has been on display at the Fitzwilliam Museum since that time.


Daniel Miller is responsible for nearly all of National Right to Life News' political writing.

With the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, Daniel Miller developed a deep obsession with U.S. politics that has never let go of the political scientist. Whether it's the election of Joe Biden, the midterm elections in Congress, the abortion rights debate in the Supreme Court or the mudslinging in the primaries - Daniel Miller is happy to stay up late for you.

Daniel was born and raised in New York. After living in China, working for a news agency and another stint at a major news network, he now lives in Arizona with his two daughters.

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