of Pharaoh's Wife
Discovered In Egyptian Oasis
(Reuters) - The tomb of a Pharaoh's wife has been discovered
in Egypt's Western Desert, decorated with 100 gold amulets,
the largest number ever found on one mummy, Egyptian officials
said on Monday.
of Culture Farouk Hosni said an excavation team working
in the village of Bawiti last week found the mummy of
Naas, the wife of Gad Khensu Eyuf Ankh, the ruler of the
Bahriya oasis between 589 and 570 BC.
oasis describes the area around an actual water point
where Bedouin settlements may be situated.
Pharaoh's tomb was discovered in March last year in the
same village in the oasis, some 250 miles southwest of
Cairo. Hosni said Naas' tomb, four miles from the valley
of the golden mummies, held a limestone coffin, 100 gold
amulets and other jewellery.
Ali Gaballah, chairman of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities,
said this was the first time such a large number of amulets
had been discovered on one mummy.
most important discoveries were a gold ring on the mummy's
finger and an Osiris pendant, he said.
Hawass, Director of the Giza Plateau, said the team would
continue excavation work at the same site to try to uncover
all 26 mummies of the oasis' ruling family. Six mummies
have already been found.
1999 a team uncovered a mass grave of more than 100 mummies
belonging to families of high-ranking officials in the Roman
period (30 BC to 395 AD) in the same village.
Wilkinson, whose previous successes have included recreating
the faces of unidentified bodies for the police, worked on
Lady X as part of a joint Egyptian, Dutch and British team.
The mummy was taken from the museum to Cairo's New Kasr-el-Aini
Hospital and given a computer tomography (CT) scan. The scanner,
normally used to detect cancers and other diseases, surveyed
the head in 223 slices, each one a millimetre thick.
Wilkinson said: "A computer translated each slice of
the CT information into three dimensions, and used lasers
to cut a wax resin copy of the skull. I could then work with
the model skull, and the soft tissue information from the
added: "You build the muscles of the face on to the skull
one by one in clay. I used sets of average tissue depth data
to give me a guide to the amount I should put on the face.
The whole process takes a week. I think she's got quite a
strong face, quite characterful, but I wouldn't say she has
got Cleopatra's nose or anything like that."
X's face will now be displayed alongside her mummy in the
Egyptian Museum of Cairo. The project has inspired Dr Wilkinson
to consider reconstructing the face of possibly the most famous
pharaoh: Tutankhamun. She said: "Tutankhamun has a beautiful
face on the gold mask he was buried with. As to how idealised
that is, I don't know. It would be great to find out.