The child was embalmed with the utmost care, and then tucked into a small cedar sarcophagus.
A small cedar wood casket, 44 centimeters long, which was found in Giza in 1907, has just revealed its secret: it contains the mummified remains of a baby as young as 18 weeks of gestation. It is, thus, the youngest mummy found until today in the history of Ancient Egypt, as read in this article published by the Spanish newspaper ABC.
This discovery, made by staff of the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, is not the first of its kind (two mummies of babies 25 and 37 weeks’ of gestation old respectively were found in Tutankhamun’s tomb), but confirms the importance of burial rituals in Egypt, even for lives that were lost before birth.
The museum’s curators made the discovery while conducting an investigation as part of the celebration of the bicentennial of the exhibition Death on the Nile: the discovery of the future life of Ancient Egypt.
The small coffin, which dates back to the 6th or 5th centuries BC, was carefully carved and decorated with particular care, which attracted the attention of the conservatives of the Fitzwilliam who, upon opening the coffin, discovered a tiny body carefully wrapped with bandages, joined with fused black resin.
An X-ray examination revealed the bandages contained the small unaltered skeleton.