National Geographic News: Mummy

Mummy photograph
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The arms of predynastic mummies were bent at the elbows with the hands covering the face. Throughout the Old and Middle Kingdoms bodies were mummified with their arms at their sides, sometimes with their hands covering the pelvic area. The crossed-arm position is not generally found until the New Kingdom when it is reserved for royal males. The mummy's left hand is clenched, and probably held a royal scepter, now lost.

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Photograph copyright Robin Davis
 
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