Sunday, January 6, 2008

Blast From the Past: The Saga of the Persian Princess

From BBC Online, a summary of a BBC television show about the Persian Princess mummy first shown on September 20, 2001:

As scientists investigated more closely, it became clear that this mummy had an even darker history. Computerised tomography (CT) scans and X-ray photographs of the body inside the mummy revealed that this was no ancient corpse but a woman who had died in the recent past, and that her neck was broken. An autopsy confirmed that this woman may indeed have been murdered to provide a body for the fakers to mummify - a body they intended to pass off as an ancient mummy for millions of dollars on the international art black market. And, finally there is evidence to suggest that they have done this not once but three times, raising the spectre of a mummy factory and the terrifying thought of yet more victims.

More gruesome details.

From David Meadows, who hosts rogueclassicism at the Atrium:

Remember that supposed Persian Mummy from a few years ago which turned out to be a hoax? Ever wonder what happened to it? Reuters (via Yahoo) gives the details:

After years of lying in cold storage, the mummified body of a young woman once thought to be an ancient Persian princess will be buried later this month by a Pakistani welfare group.

Found in Pakistan's southwestern city of Quetta in 2000, the body was at the centre of an archaeological and diplomatic dispute for two years before scientists at Pakistan's Atomic Research Council pronounced it just 20 years old.

Iran swiftly withdrew claims on the mummy that some people believed had been stolen by grave robbers from burial grounds of the Sasani dynasty, which ruled ancient Persia between the Fourth and Eighth Centuries.

Touted as a major archaeological find until it was debunked, Pakistan's provincial governments of Baluchistan and Sindh had also squabbled over whose museum had first rights. But when nobody wanted it, the Karachi-based Edhi Foundation, Pakistan's largest private social welfare organisation took in the homeless corpse.

"It has been lying in our cold storage mortuary for the last three years," Rizwan Edhi, the trust's administrator, said on Friday, adding that preserving the body had cost $8,000. "We will bury it later this month as no one is willing to claim it now." Posted by david meadows on Sat, Aug 06, 2005 at 7:08 AM

And so the sad tale ended with the burial of the young woman. Someone out there must know who she was in life, even if they were not willing to claim her in death. Shame, shame on the culture that would condone this kind of treatment of its women.

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