The head of an Egyptian mummy found in Palermo: a young woman who lived in the Greco-Roman period


By John

An Egyptian mummified head resurfaces from the deposits of the Salinas Museum in Palermo: an artefact donated in 1870 by Abbot Antonio Pietro Paternostro, spiritual director of the Vittorio Emanuele II Institute, who had acquired it during his wanderings in Africa.

The head belongs to a woman between 20 and 50 years of age who lived in the Greco-Roman period. This was confirmed by a study entrusted to the Sicilian anthropologist Dario Piombino-Mascalichief researcher ofVilnius University (Lithuania)professor of Paleoanthropology at the School of Specialization in Archaeological Heritage of the University of Salento and curator of the Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo.

The mummy with other materials of Egyptian origin, announced the director of the museum Caterina Greco, will enrich the new display of the Palermo Stone, which will constitute an important chapter in the museum’s exhibition itinerary. The study on the mummy, added the regional councilor for cultural heritage Francesco Scarpinato«not only allowed us to verify the authenticity of the remains, attributing them to the Egyptian civilization, but also allowed us to identify the age and sex of the person to whom the head belonged, the materials used and the period in which it was mummified ».

At the time of discovery, in 2022, the skull appeared partially skeletonized and covered in soft tissue and resin-impregnated bandages. These and other elements allowed Dario Piombino-Mascali to reconstruct the treatment of the find «compatible with the embalming treatments typical of Egyptian culture» and to identify some of the ingredients used for the embalming of the woman.