The Condition of the Mummy

    Davis  described the mummy after it was unwrapped as that of a "smallish person, with a delicate head and hands...The mouth was partly open, showing a perfect set of upper and lower teeth." ToQT, 2.) J. L. Smith also described the unwrapped mummy as "small sized" and commented that although the skull "was badly damaged," the upper and lower teeth were in good condition. (TTAA, 63-64.) Smith remarked that the skull of the mummy was visible prior to the unwrapping, and that it was "entirely free from the body." He later stated that "the head had been found separated at least a foot from the body." (TTAA, 61, 64.) Weigall noted that both the head and feet of the mummy were exposed when the excavators first entered KV 55, and stated that the bandages which had once covered them had "decayed and fallen off." He continued, saying "the bare skull...could be seen protruding from the remains of the linen bandages and from the sheets of flexible gold foil in which...the whole body was wrapped." (GP, 137.) Some accounts describe more than a "bare skull," and report that facial features were still visible on the mummy. A visitor to the tomb, Walter Tyndale, in his Below the Cataracts (London, 1907), comments that the mummy's "dried-up face, sunken cheeks, and thin leathery-looking lips, exposing a few teeth were in ghastly contrast to the golden diadem which encircled [the] head and the gold necklace that partially hid [the] shrunken throat." (Quoted in TVK, 216. cf. Maspero, NL, 294, and Ayrton, PSBA 29 [1907], 279.) Ayrton's comment that "the bones would only just bear handling" (ToQT, 9) and Davis's observation that a tooth crumbled when he touched it (ToQT, 4) attest to the delicate condition of the body. G. E. Smith, who later examined the mummy in Cairo (see below) reported that the bones of the face had been crushed when the coffin lid collapsed onto them. (RM, 55.) J. L. Smith recorded that Maspero formulated his own theory to account for the decapitation of the body. He had found a stone inside the coffin and believed this had separated the head of the mummy from the body when it had fallen from the ceiling. (TTAA, 58.) Martha Bell points out that the mummy's head had very probably been originally covered with the traditional mummy mask, and that the head could have been pulled from the body and damaged when an attempt was made to forcibly remove this. (JARCE 27 [1990], 133.)
    For further data on the physical aspects of the KV 55 mummy, Bernhard A. Grundl of Germany kindly supplied a link to Odette Lind's website where a list (including measurements) of the mummy's skeletal remains may be found by clicking here

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