-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
MONDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) -- A new study reveals how
conspirators may have murdered the Egyptian king Ramesses III, who
reigned from 1186 to 1155 B.C.
Forensic, radiological and genetic analyses showed the Pharaoh's
throat was probably cut during a coup staged by one of his two
known wives and her son, Prince Pentawere, over who would inherit
The researchers, led by Albert Zink from the Institute for
Mummies and the Iceman of the European Academy of Bolzano/Bozen in
Italy, examined CT scans of Ramesses III's mummy as well as a mummy
known as "unknown man E," who is believed to be his son.
Wide and deep throat wounds were found in Ramesses III's mummy.
The researchers noted these wounds were most likely caused by a
sharp blade. They added this injury could have killed him
The researchers also found a Horus eye amulet inside Ramesses
III's wound. His embalmers probably inserted this amulet to promote
healing. Layers of thick linen were also placed around the
Pharaoh's neck like a collar, the researchers explained.
Meanwhile, an examination of the unknown man revealed an
inflated thorax and compressed skinfolds around the mummy's neck.
The researchers concluded the 18-to 20-year old man died from
strangulation or another violent act.
The study also revealed the unknown man's body was mummified
with a "ritually impure" goatskin. The researchers pointed out this
non-royal burial procedure could have been a form of
DNA evidence also showed the mummies shared the same parental
lineage. The researchers said their findings strongly suggest the
two mummies were father and son.
They argued that the unknown mummy could very well be Prince
Pentawere, although his cause of death remains uncertain.
The study was published online Dec. 17 in the
The American Board of Forensic Anthropology provides more
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