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2,500-Year-Old Mummy Found In Coffin At The University Of Sydney in Australia
Egyptian coffin thought to be empty reveals mummy (CCSS Level: Grade 8, Words: 253)
Mar 28, 2018 History

Scientists in Australia have discovered the remains of a mummy in a 2,500-year-old coffin that was previously classified as empty.

The sarcophagus was one of four sourced from Egypt around the1860s by the museum's founder. A handbook later classified it as empty.

The sarcophagus had been left untouched at a university museum in Sydney for more than 150 years. Thanks to a routine check, when scientists opened the coffin last year, they were surprised to find the remains of human feet and bones, and this was when the university realised they had been sitting on a research gold mine.

Archaeologist Dr Jamie Fraser said the discovery, only now made public, had been a remarkable moment. "It was just unbelievably astonishing what we saw - one of those moments where you can't help but take in a breath and just hang in the moment," said Dr Fraser, from the Nicholson Museum at the University of Sydney. "Far from residual scraps, the coffin was filled with a miscellany of bones, bandages, beads and other materials. "

Hieroglyphs on the coffin say it contains a woman called Mer-Neity-it-es. Fraser and colleagues believe she was a distinguished high priestess in 600 BC, when Egypt was last ruled by native Egyptians.

Experts will try to identify the mummy, which was "badly torn apart" and ransacked by tomb raiders at some point in history. Only about 10% of the body remains in the coffin.

"I've never excavated an Egyptian tomb, but this comes close," Fraser commented.

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person who studies ancient people and how they lived



extremely surprising or impressive; amazing



officially not allow



a person with whom one works



found, uncovered



recognize or treat (someone or something) as different



made a hole or channel by digging



persons with great skill in some area



a stylized picture of an object representing a word, syllable, or sound, as found in ancient Egyptian and other writing systems



placed in order by level or worth



the matter from which things can be made



a group or collection of different items; a mixture









amazing, hard to believe



looking for knowledge



a stone coffin, typically decorated, and linked to ancient Egypt, Rome, and Greece



experts in science, people who study science



feeling or showing surprise



not damaged in any way, unmarked