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Israel to Display Ancient Mummy With Modern-Day Afflictions

New Wing Exterior of Israel Museum (Photo: Wikipedia)

Researchers now know that ancient Egyptians also suffered from diseases that we once thought only plagued the present day population, such as osteoporosis and tooth decay. The particular 2,000-year-old mummy discovered to have osteoporosis (his body was given a CT scan by researchers) will be displayed in Israel's national museum.

"Osteoporosis is a disease that is characteristic of the 20th century, when people don't work so hard. We are glued to screens," said Galit Bennett, who curated the mummy exhibit. "We were very surprised that there were people who didn't do physical work and that it affected their bodies like this man here."

The museum said that thanks to Egyptian embalming processes and Jerusalem's dry climate, the mummy's bones, teeth and remnants of blood vessels were found largely intact, assisting them in their research. The mummy was also found to have had tooth cavities.

Researchers studied the mummy's remains earlier this year using a CT scanner, technology that allowed them to discover the diseases and determine the mummy was a man who lived to what was at the time a relatively old age of 30 and 40 years. He was originally 167 centimeters (5-foot-6) tall but that either in his lifetime or afterward, he had shrunk to 154 centimeters (5-foot-1). His apparently sedentary lifestyle, as well as inscriptions on his coffin, indicates he was a priest, the museum said.

Tags: Facts and Findings

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