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SCIENCE FILE | Science in Brief

Pharaoh May Have Died of Ear Infection, Images Show

November 30, 2000

Computerized images of a mummy believed to be the 3,000-year-old body of Pharaoh Ramses I show that the grandfather of Ramses the Great probably died of a severe ear infection, researchers from Emory University said Tuesday at a Chicago meeting of the Radiological Society of North America. The images, at right, show that his ear was deformed, possibly as the result of a bad piercing, and that he suffered a severe and destructive ear infection that may have been the cause of death, said Dr. Heidi Hoffman. Other images show that the founder of Egypt's greatest dynasty was probably not circumcised, that his skull was filled with molten resin during mummification, and that his abdominal organs were replaced with tightly rolled linen packs.

Similar studies of other mummies in an Atlanta museum showed that one, believed to be a baby, was actually an older child whose legs had been cut off. The same mummy had damage to the right elbow, indicating he probably suffered from an infection. Another child had a skull fracture that may have been the cause of death. Other images are available at: http://www.pcipr.com/RSNA/Mummy%20Images1.htm.

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--Compiled by Times medical writer Thomas H. Maugh II

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