Conservators discover paintings in sarcophagus of 3,000-year-old mummy

The paintings depicted the goddess Amentet, also known as Imentet, a minor fertility goddess as well as goddess of the dead.

A 2,500-year old coffin that may contain a mummy lies at the University of Sydney in Sydney, Australia March 27, 2018 (photo credit: REUTERS/COLIN PACKHAM)
A 2,500-year old coffin that may contain a mummy lies at the University of Sydney in Sydney, Australia March 27, 2018
Conservators were shocked to discover paintings inside the sarcophagus of an Egyptian mummy after the body was lifted out of it for the first time in over 100 years, the Daily Mail reported.
Believed to have been from between the years 760 and 525 BCE, the nearly 3,000-year-old mummy – who according to the hieroglyphics on the sarcophagus was named Ta-Kr-Hb (pronounced "takerheb") and is believed to be either a priestess or princess from Thebes (though the sarcophagus itself is believed to have been from Akhmim in Upper Egypt) – was reported to be in extremely fragile condition after being a target for grave robbers for centuries.
This is evidenced by an examination that was performed in 2013 at Manchester Royal Children’s Hospital, which included a CT scan and X-rays of her sarcophagus. The radiographic examination revealed that the mummy's skeleton had suffered extensive damage to the chest and damage after mummification, SCBP Perth had reported. In addition, the brain mass was shown to have been removed through the sinus cavities, which is part of the mummification process.
According to the Daily Mail, conservatory work was done on the mummy before it will be moved to its new home in the City Hall Museum in Perth, Scotland, once the museum opens its doors in 2022.
Inside the sarcophagus were paintings of the Egyptian goddess Amentet along the internal and external bases.
A minor fertility goddess as well as goddess of the dead, Amentet was also called Imentet, and was known as "She of the West" or "Lady of the West." Scholars have said that this appellation does not merely refer to the geographic direction, but to the setting Sun and the Underworld. It is believed she was never officially worshiped like other gods were, but her image is often found on tombs throughout Egypt.
According to Dr. Mark Hall, collections officer at Perth Museum and Art Gallery, finding the paintings was very surprising.
"We had never had a reason to lift the whole thing so high that we could see the underneath of the trough and had never lifted the mummy out before and didn't expect to see anything there. So to get a painting on both surfaces is a real bonus and gives us something extra special to share with visitors," he told the PA news agency.
"The key thing we wanted to achieve was to stabilize the body so it didn't deteriorate any more so it has been re-wrapped and then we wanted to stabilize the trough and upper part of the coffin which we've done."
It is hoped that these new findings could lead to new information about who Ta-Kr-Hb was and what her mummy has been through.
"One of the key things is just physically doing the work so we have a better idea of the episodes Ta-Kr-Hb went through in terms of grave robbers and later collectors in the Victorian times, so we can explore these matters more fully and we can share that with the public," Hall said.