Body of a male adult in a flexed position. Skull - Tufts of brown hair are present on the remains of the scalp. The mouth is closed; all teeth are present and apparently healthy. There is a large, faint, square-shaped opacity within the skull. Thorax and Abdomen - There is a fracture of the anterior end of the 9th right rib. Apart from this, no fractures or dislocations were seen. The intervertebral discs appear normal. No spinal arthritis. There is an opacity in the thorax. A crack/fracture is visible left of the sciatic notch and of the right ischial tuberosity. Arms - No fractures seen. The fingers are flexed but several are missing. the left hand is detached at the wrist. Legs - Transverse fracture, lower end of the shaft of the right femur. Lines of arrested growth occur at the lower ends of the tibiae.
- Excavated/Findspot: Gebelein
- (Africa,Egypt,Upper Egypt,Gebelein)
- Length: 160 centimetres
2 December 1999
Reason for analysis
Analysis of linen from a pre-Dynastic Mummy (EA32754)
During conservation of pre-Dynastic Mummy, small pieces of textile, thought to be dyed linen,were found in various parts of the body. A sample was taken from beneath the right foot.Microscopic analysis showed that the fibres in the sample were similar to linen - long straightfibres with knuckles.A sample of the linen boiled in 2:1-MeOH: 10% Formic Acid gave a yellow/brown solution. Thissolution was then shaken with butan-2-one (MEK) resulting in a migration of most of the yellowcolour. The residual aqueous phase still retained some of the original colour. The butan-2-oneextract was compared to standards of Alizarian, Purpurin, Lac, Carminic Acid and Kermes byThin Layer Chromatography (TLC) using a mobile phase of 95:5 - Methanol:Formic Acid. Thechromatogram was inspected under UV light and the unknown spot not found to correspond toany of the above standards.A drop of 5% Potassium Ferrocyanide solution was added to the extract, resulting in a bluecoloured solution - a positive test for Iron. This presence of Iron was confirmed by XRF(EA32754).The Mummy was 'Late' pre-Dynastic, i.e. before 3150 BC. Discussion with a Dye Historianrevealed that Madder was not used until 1567 BC and that the predominant red dye during thepre-Dynastic period was Hematite.
Analysis reference number
Ancient Egypt & Sudan
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Object reference number: YCA54506
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