Tool used by ancient Egyptians to remove BRAINS discovered in the skull of a 2,400 year old mummy- after it was LEFT INSIDE by bumbling embalmer
A brain-removal tool used by ancient Egyptian embalmers was found wedged in the skull of a female mummy after embalmers left it there thousands of years ago.
The three-inch object was located in the body of a 40-year-old woman dating back 2,400 years, initially causing bafflement among researchers over what it was.
After carrying out CT scans, scientists found the instrument between the left parietal bone and the back of the skull, which had been filled with resin during the mummification.
Analysed: The mummy had a brain removal tool lodged in its skull
Keen to examine the tool, the team used an endoscope – a thin tube often used for noninvasive medical procedures – to detach it from the resin to which it was stuck.
Embalmers would have inserted it through a hole punched in the skull near to the nose, and used it to liquify and remove the brain.
Discovery: Scientists found a bamboo brain removal tool lodged in skull of the mummy
Brittle: The tool was in a fragile condition after experts removed it with an endoscope
In an interview with the website LiveScience, Dr Mislav Čavka, of the University Hospital Dubrava in Zagreb Croatia, explained the tool was cut using a clamp through the endoscope.
‘Some parts (of the brain) would be wrapped around this stick and pulled out, and the other parts would be liquefied,’ Dr Čavka said.
The mummy could then be turned onto its front and the liquid drained through the nose hole.
‘It is an error that [the] embalmers left this stick in the skull,’ she said.
The mistake made thousands of years ago has helped researchers to understand the ancient embalming process.
The tool was made from plants in the group Monocotyledon, which includes forms of palm and bamboo, which may have been used instead of metal because it was cheaper.
The only other brain-removal stick found inside a mummy’s skull dates back 2,200 years and was made from a similar type of material.
The details emerged in a report recently published by Dr Mislav Čavka’s team in the journal RSNA RadioGraphics.
The mummy is currently in the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb Croatia.
It was brought to Croatia in the 19th century without a coffin and it is not known where the woman was from or how she died.
‘It is known that mummification was widely practiced throughout ancient Egyptian civilization, but it was a time-consuming and costly practice.
‘Thus, not everyone could afford to perform the same mummification procedure,” the researchers wrote in the article.