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Henutmehyt, an Egyptian priestess

The Theban priestess Henutmehyt probably lived during the Nineteenth Dynasty (about 1295-1186 BC). The richness of her burial, and her title of 'Chantress of Amun' suggest that she was an extremely wealthy and important woman. In this, she is comparable to Anhai, who was of similar status.

Items of the burial equipment of Henutmehyt were bought by Sir Ernest Wallis Budge (1857-1934), from a well-known antiquities dealer in Luxor. Although they obviously came from an intact burial, its exact location on the west bank of the Nile at Thebes is not known. The funerary equipment of Henutmehyt includes gilded coffins, canopic jars, shabti figures and boxes, magic bricks and a finely written Book of the Dead. None of her relatives are named on any of her equipment, so nothing is known of her family. The name 'Henutmehyt' was very popular at the time that she lived, and it is not possible to identify her more specifically.

The mummy of Henutmehyt has not survived. However, a fragment of her skull remains attached to the resin on the back of her inner coffin. She had short, curly reddish hair, which was possibly dyed with henna. The contents of her canopic jars show that she was elderly when she died. Her lungs show evidence of illnesses associated with old age, including oedema (congestion) and anthracosis, a build up of carbon deposits.

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