Photo in the News: Egypt's "Most Beautiful Mummy"

Picture: most beautiful mummy in Egypt
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May 5, 2005—Just in time for Mummy's Day, archaeologists have unveiled "the most beautiful mummy ever found in Egypt," according to Zahi Hawass, the head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities. Revealed Tuesday, the 2,300-year-old male mummy was discovered two months ago under 20 feet (6 meters) of sand near the pyramids at Saqqara.

Its pigments still vivid, the mummy's nearly intact wooden sarcophagus offers a glimpse of ancient rituals and everyday life: The mummification process is depicted in detail, for instance, while, Maat, goddess of truth and balance, hovers above with wings outstretched.

One thing the paintings don't reveal is who lurks inside the sarcophagus. The gold mask and the mummy's location, a royal burial complex, suggest the deceased was a man of great wealth. The rest is up to science. Hawass, a National Geographic explorer-in-residence, told reporters that an upcoming CT scan should unlock secrets of who the mummy was and how he lived.

—Ted Chamberlain

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