Famous female mummy died after being stabbed in the back with an ax

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The famous female mummy Takabuti died about 2,600 years ago after being stabbed in the back with an ax, not a knife, as previously claimed, according to a new study.

Professor Rosalie David of the University of Manchester and Professor Eileen Murphy Queen’s University Belfast explored the mysterious death of Takabuti.

She is believed to have been a high woman who lived in the city of Thebes in ancient Egypt, where present-day Luxor is 2,600 years ago.

Her cause of death has been an enduring mystery for decades, since she was brought to Ireland in 1834 and first unwrapped the following year.

The new study used a range of techniques, including DNA analysis, X-rays, CT scans, and hair and mummification wrapping analyzes to learn more.

The team says a military ax was likely used from behind as she ran away from her attacker, who may have been an Assyrian soldier or one of her own.

Famous female mummy Takabuti died about 2,600 years ago after being stabbed in the back with an ax, not a knife as previously claimed, according to a new study.

Famous female mummy Takabuti died about 2,600 years ago after being stabbed in the back with an ax, not a knife as previously claimed, according to a new study.

The team says a military ax was likely used from behind as she ran away from her attacker, who may have been an Assyrian soldier or one of her own.

The team says a military ax was likely used from behind as she ran away from her attacker, who may have been an Assyrian soldier or one of her own.

The team says a military ax was likely used from behind as she ran away from her attacker, who may have been an Assyrian soldier or one of her own.

TAKABUTI: A 2,600 YEAR OLD MUMMY HELD IN IRELAND

Takabuti is believed to have been a high woman who lived in the city of Thebes in ancient Egypt, where present-day Luxor is today

She lived at the end of Egypt’s 25th Dynasty about 2,600 years ago.

Takabuti would have been the mistress of an important house in his late twenties or early thirties.

Her cause of death has been an enduring mystery for decades.

The mystery began when she was brought to Ireland in 1834 and first unwrapped the following year.

Recent studies suggest she was killed by an ax stabbed in her back.

The research has been published in a new book called ‘The Life and times of Takabuti in Ancient Egypt: researching the Belfast mummy’.

Previous scans of the mummy showed that she was stabbed in the upper back at the level of her left shoulder and that the stabbing was the cause of her death.

The new research suggests that the ax used to kill Takabuti was an ax commonly used by both Egyptian and Assyrian soldiers, suggesting that both may be responsible.

“She may have fallen victim to one of her own people,” said the book’s authors, adding that the death was most likely immediate.

When they study the position and depth of the wound, they think the killer was holding the ax with his or her arms bent to give them maximum strength and thrust.

It would have been pushed hard into the ribs, resulting in terrible, fatal injuries.

The weapon, which has a blade with a semicircular sharp edge at least seven centimeters long, matches the injuries she sustained.

A range of techniques, including analyzing her DNA, taking X-ray and CT scans of the body, and examining the packaging materials used in mummification, allowed the team to get a much more detailed picture.

They also used a method called proteomics to study the proteins in small fragments of material, in addition to radiocarbon dating.

This allowed the teams from the University of Manchester and Queen’s University Belfast to unravel the mystery of Takabuti’s life and times.

CT scan analysis of Takabuti’s body revealed that she had died as a young woman in her late twenties or early thirties.

Using proteomics, the team was able to study her health throughout her life and revealed no evidence of persistent illness at the time of death.

Takabuti’s title, written on her casket, indicates that she was a married woman who oversaw a sizable household – probably in Thebes – where Luxor is now.

Professor Rosalie David of the University of Manchester and Professor Eileen Murphy Queen's University Belfast explored the mysterious death of Takabuti

Professor Rosalie David of the University of Manchester and Professor Eileen Murphy Queen's University Belfast explored the mysterious death of Takabuti

Professor Rosalie David of the University of Manchester and Professor Eileen Murphy Queen’s University Belfast explored the mysterious death of Takabuti

Takabuti is believed to have been a high woman who lived in the city of Thebes in ancient Egypt, where present-day Luxor is 2,600 years ago.  Scans of her body reveal what researchers previously thought was her heart (photo)

Takabuti is believed to have been a high woman who lived in the city of Thebes in ancient Egypt, where present-day Luxor is 2,600 years ago.  Scans of her body reveal what researchers previously thought was her heart (photo)

Takabuti is believed to have been a high woman who lived in the city of Thebes in ancient Egypt, where present-day Luxor is 2,600 years ago. Scans of her body reveal what researchers previously thought was her heart (photo)

Professor Rosalie David, an Egyptologist from the University of Manchester’s KNH Center for Biomedical Egyptology, said it was somewhat reassuring to know that her death, while violent, was swift and likely not long.

‘But ancient Egyptians often survived to middle age, so the tragedy of her death at such a young age is grim,’ David said, ‘adding that it’s’ hard not to feel close to her.’

“She was probably very loved by her family: her body was taken care of with great care after her death: her hair was neatly cut and carefully curled and styled.”

“Since we’ve been able to identify the shape of the wound and the angle of the murder weapon, we think an ax was probably responsible,” said David.f

Detailed analysis revealed that Takabuti (pictured) died in her 20s or 30s after being stabbed in the back by her left shoulder.  Her cause of death had been an enduring mystery for decades

Detailed analysis revealed that Takabuti (pictured) died in her 20s or 30s after being stabbed in the back by her left shoulder.  Her cause of death had been an enduring mystery for decades

Detailed analysis revealed that Takabuti (pictured) died in her 20s or 30s after being stabbed in the back by her left shoulder. Her cause of death had been an enduring mystery for decades

The curly-haired woman is believed to be a tall woman in the city of Thebes - where modern Luxor is today.  A team of experts used X-ray scanners, CT scans, carbon dating and hair analysis to uncover the secrets of Takabuti's life

The curly-haired woman is believed to be a tall woman in the city of Thebes - where modern Luxor is today.  A team of experts used X-ray scanners, CT scans, carbon dating and hair analysis to uncover the secrets of Takabuti's life

The curly-haired woman is believed to be a tall woman in the city of Thebes – where modern Luxor is today. A team of experts used X-ray scanners, CT scans, carbon dating and hair analysis to uncover the secrets of Takabuti’s life

“However, it is difficult to be absolutely definitive because the wound morphology is significantly distorted.”

Professor Eileen Murphy added: “This book is the result of years of painstaking work. It contributes to our understanding not only of Takabuti, but of a broader historical context of the time in which she lived. ‘

Murphy said the new advanced scientific analysis tools show that new information is still accessible thousands of years after a person’s death.

‘Our team – from different institutions and specialisms – was uniquely positioned to provide the necessary expertise and technology for such a broad study.’

The book, entitled The Life and times of Takabuti in Ancient Egypt: researching the Belfast mummy, is published by Liverpool University Press.

WHAT IS A CT SCAN?

CT scan (computed tomography) uses X-rays and a computer to create detailed images.

They are several single X-rays that create a two-dimensional image of a ‘slice’ or section of the specimen / individual.

Although an X-ray creates a flat image, several can be combined to construct complex 3D images.

A CT scanner emits a series of narrow beams as it moves through an arc.

This is different from an X-ray machine, which emits only one beam of radiation.

The CT scan provides a more detailed final image than an X-ray.

This data is sent to a computer, which builds a three-dimensional cross-sectional image of the body part and displays it on the screen.

CT scans are used to get an in-depth view of hard-to-reach places and are widely used in human medicine.

They can be used to diagnose bone and internal organ disorders and to determine the size, location, and shape of a tumor.

CT scans are also used to simulate images of extinct animals or to get a closer look at fragile archaeological remains.

CT scanners combine several 2D X-ray images into a complex 3D image that can reveal high levels of detail in human organs, tissues and also for archaeological remains

CT scanners combine several 2D X-ray images into a complex 3D image that can reveal high levels of detail in human organs, tissues and also for archaeological remains

CT scanners combine several 2D X-ray images into a complex 3D image that can reveal high levels of detail in human organs, tissues and also for archaeological remains