Academic journal article Science Scope

Ancient DNA Results End 4,000-Year-Old Egyptian Mummy Mystery

Academic journal article Science Scope

Ancient DNA Results End 4,000-Year-Old Egyptian Mummy Mystery

Article excerpt

Ever since their discovery in 1907, there has been some debate among Egyptologists about whether the "Two Brothers" mummies were actually related. So, in 2015, ancient DNA was extracted from their teeth to solve the mystery. Using DNA sequencing, scientists have found that the famous "Two Brothers" mummies of the Manchester Museum are, in fact, half-brothers.

The Two Brothers are the Museum's oldest mummies and among the best-known human remains in its Egyptology collection. They are the mummies of two elite men (Khnum-nakht and Nakht-ankh) dating to around 1800 BC. But how did the mystery start?

The pair's joint burial site, later dubbed The Tomb of The Two Brothers, was discovered at Deir Rifeh, a village 250 miles south of Cairo, Egypt. They were found by Egyptian workmen directed by early 20th century Egyptologists, Flinders Petrie and Ernest Mackay. Hieroglyphic inscriptions on the coffins indicated that both men were the sons of an unnamed local governor and had mothers with the same name, Khnum-aa. It was then that the men became known as the Two Brothers.

When the complete contents of the tomb were shipped to Manchester in 1908, the mummies of both men were unwrapped by the UK's first professional female Egyptologist, Margaret Murray. Her team concluded that the skeletal morphologies were quite different, suggesting an absence of family relationship. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.