Mummy of a child

From Hawara, Egypt
Roman Period, AD 40-55

With a portrait in tempera on linen

This is one of the mummies discovered by Flinders Petrie in his excavations in the Roman cemeteries near the pyramid at Hawara in 1887/8. From Petrie's excavation notebooks it appears that this child was the offspring of a woman whose mummy is now in the Cairo Museum.

The child's mummy has been elaborately wrapped, and a well-executed panel portrait of the dead child inserted into the outer layers of the wrappings. Over the torso of the mummy is a shroud painted with various scenes of the Egyptian religious tradition, with the sky goddess Nut at the top. In the centre of the scenes is a band that would have been filled with a text, which was never added.

CT scans of the mummy show that it was indeed that of a young person; the bones have been displaced, perhaps by the tightness of the wrappings. A possible tumour has been identified on the leg bones, unless this is simply resin which seeped in during the mummification process.

Find in the collection online

More information


S. Walker and M. Bierbrier, Ancient faces: mummy portrai-1 (London, The British Museum Press, 1997)


Length: 91.000 cm
Width: 30.500 cm

Museum number

EA 21809


Gift of H. Martyn Kennard


Find in the collection online

Search highlights

There are over 4,000 highlight objects to explore