Last year, Polish scientists analysing a mummy discovered in 1826 and kept in the National Museum in Warsaw for decades, discovered that the embalmed body was hiding a secret: It belonged to a pregnant woman with a fetus still in her womb.
The discovery, the first of its kind, has impressed archaeologists ever since. In January, another article about the mummy was published, focusing specifically on her stillborn son.
According to the report, published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, the fetus was between 26 and 30 weeks old when its mother died and was buried in her in good condition for the next 2,000 years.
Interestingly, the woman’s uterus was left intact during the embalming process, which is unusual: usually, all the organs are removed. Until then, the reason behind this choice is a mystery, according to Phys.org.
Countless possibilities were opened up by the discovery of a pregnant mummy, such as the study of the way in which the culture of Ancient Egypt viewed pregnancy. Another investigation with great potential is that of the intestinal contents of the fetus, which may reveal differences in the perinatal development of the immune system of humans at that time.
“It may have been thought that it was still an integral part of its mother’s body, as it was not yet born,” the experts speculated in their initial study.