These Mummy Legs Likely Belong to a Great Queen
Researchers think they are the remains of Egypt's Nefertari
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 2, 2016 5:00 AM CST
The mummified legs found near Luxor in 1904.   (PLOS One)

(Newser) – Archaeologists say they've likely identified the mummified remains of "one of the truly great and important queens of Egypt," in the same league as Nefertiti and Cleopatra. Three portions of mummified legs found more than a century ago in the looted tomb of Queen Nefertari—wife of Ramesses the Great, who ruled during Egypt's 19th Dynasty about 3,300 years ago—were X-rayed by University of Zurich researchers and found to have belonged to a middle-aged woman, perhaps with arthritis. Animal fat used in embalming also suggests she died during Egypt's 19th or 20th Dynasty, leading researchers to conclude the legs are probably Nefertari's, who is believed to have died between the ages of 40 and 50 around 1250BC, per Live Science.

Though "no absolute certainty exists ... the most likely scenario is that the mummified knees truly belong to Queen Nefertari," researchers write in PLOS One, adding that grass and papyrus sandals found alongside the remains are of a style common in the 19th Dynasty. Nefertari—whose mummy rested in a pink granite sarcophagus that was smashed to pieces by ancient looters—was said to be beautiful, educated, and involved in politics. She is "the only queen from the Ramesside era to have been likely identified so far," a researcher tells Seeker. The mummified legs are on display at the Egyptian Museum in Turin, Italy. (The search for Nefertiti continues.)

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