In my recent post about the Philadelphia Science Festival, I put in a little teaser photograph of one of our child mummies currently in the lab:
Now, all of our mummies are special, but this child mummy has several qualities that make her particularly endearing. One of the things that we really love is that her name is written on her wrappings, near her feet.
Her name is actually written in both Greek and Demotic – Demotic is the language/script that developed in later periods in Egypt (and is one of the languages inscribed on the Rosetta Stone, along with Greek and hieroglyphic Egyptian). In Greek, this inscription reads: “Tanous (daughter of) Hermodorus”. In Demotic her name reads as “Tanwa”.
So, based on this inscription, we know that she dates to the Ptolemaic Period, and that she is a girl. According to our Egyptologists, what is interesting about the names is that they give a good indication of the multi-cultural nature of this time period. Not only in the fact that 2 languages are represented, but that the girl’s name incorporates the name of an Egyptian goddess, Iwnyt, while her father’s name includes the name of a Greek god, Hermes.
Tanwa has been CT-scanned, which has confirmed the fact that she is a girl, and was likely right around the age of 5 when she died.
One of my favorite things that CT scanning has shown is that she is wearing 2 bracelets on her left wrist. We are guessing that these might be gold.
She also has a small metal ball included in her wrappings just over her right tibia. Exactly what this is and why it was placed there is a bit of a mystery.
There is a lot more we can learn from these CT scans, which I will describe in a future post.
Fortunately, Tanwa is in fairly good condition; one of the main issues that we need to address here in the conservation lab is that many of the narrow linen bands wrapped around her body are fragile, torn and partially detaching. I am currently more than halfway through the conservation treatment, and I will provide a thorough report on what we are doing to stabilize her wrappings next. Stay tuned!