Revealed: The Secrets of a 5,500-Year-Old Mummy Murder Mystery

Hannah Furness, Telegraph (London), November 16, 2012

Forensic scientists have moved closer to solving a 5,500-year-old cold case crime after new technology allowed them to study fatal wounds on the body of a famous mummy.

The corpse, known officially as the Gebelein Man, has been nicknamed Ginger due to his red hair and seen by millions of visitors to the British Museum.

Experts, who used digital images and scanning technology, have now concluded he was almost certainly murdered by an assailant who caught him by surprise.

His injuries suggest he was the victim of a deliberate, violent killing during a period of peace, with his shoulder blade damaged and the rib underneath shattered in a manner consistent with a stab wound.

That, in combination with a lack of defensive wounds, indicates Ginger was caught by surprise and stabbed in the back as he went about his daily business.

The mummy, which has lain in the British Museum since 1901, was moved temporarily to Cromwell Hospital in West London to undergo a CAT scan, allowing experts to study his internal organs for the first time.

Ginger is now believed to have been aged between 18 and 21 when he died, with developed muscles. He was stabbed by a blade of copper or flint at least five inches long.

Daniel Antoine, curator of physical anthropology at the museum said: “Not only have we been able to discover that Gebelein Man was young when he died but, unexpectedly, the 3D visualisation of the CT scan has confirmed that he was stabbed in the back.

“The analysis of ancient human remains rarely reveals the cause of death but the cut on his back, as well as the damage to the underlying shoulder blade and rib, are characteristic of a single penetrating wound.”

He added the lack of defensive wounds suggests Ginger was caught by surprise rather than being killed in battle.

Experts found the blow, delivered to his shoulder blade, was so forceful it shattered a rib immediately, embedding bone fragments into his muscle tissue, and injuring the left lung and surrounding blood vessels.

The absence of any signs of healing and the severity of the injuries suggest that this can be considered the cause of death, a spokeswoman for the British Museum said.

Visitors to the museum can now use a touch screen on the “virtual operating table” to examine the body more closely than ever before, in an attempt to find clues about his life and death.

The body was discovered in 1896 in a shallow grave in the Egyptian sand. He is believed to have lived around 3,500 BC in an area close to the Nile and about 25 miles south of Thebes.

He is considered to be of the best-preserved mummies in the world, after the heat and sand combined to keep his body largely in tact.

It is not known whether Ginger’s murderer was ever caught.

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  • http://www.newnation.org/ sbuffalonative

    He is considered to be of the best-preserved mummies in the world, after
    the heat and sand combined to keep his body largely in tact.

    Some unknown power in the universe wanted to truth to come out about ancient Egyptians.

  • pcmustgo

    I find this amazing…. I always assumed ancient egyptians were brown/mixed-race….

    I wonder if this red-haired mummy had white skin….

    • nathan wartooth

      Have you ever seen a person with red hair who didn’t have white skin?

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/3XTEYGEGMJI7R5ELG67HUDFT5M Connor

        Well don’t you mean before Wal-Mart started selling red dye number 39?

      • The__Bobster

        Just about every she-Bantu “singer”.

      • StillModerated

        Yes, albino negroids have red afro hair.

      • pcmustgo

        Half white /half Asians can get that red hair. Jews are well known for having reddish hair. That’s right, Jews, you know those middle easterners who lived right next to Egypt for a long time…. I’m half jewish and have reddish hair. Oh, wait, even though I have white skin, and blue veins, I’m not really white. If only the Blacks and other Hostile Angries could realize this and pardon me for it. But they can’t see past my green eyes and reddish light hair.

    • Dude

      The Egyptian civilization became more brown and mixed race over time, like Rome and America. Then it declined, like Rome and America.

      • Gayle

        Or like the Cubans. Where are the Ricky Richards?

      • pcmustgo

        Ok, but again, where are the paintings then of the original “White” Egyptians…. one mummy, but what about the rest. All the imagery of them, the sculptures, the paintings , makes them look like Puerto Ricans (aka, mulattoes, quadroons, triguenos, tri-racials).

      • ageofknowledge

        Egypt reached the pinnacle of its power during the New Kingdom, in the Ramesside period (1300 -1100 BC) before it began its slow decline until finally becoming just another Roman province.

        Joseph died in 1805 BC so would have preceded the Ramesside Period and fallen in the Middle Kingdom Period in which Egypt was also influential though not as greatly as the Ramesside period.

    • Dude

      That should read “I wonder if this red haired mummy was of a Caucasoid racial type.”

    • s shadow

      “Where the Tudor Red-Gold Hair came from « Such Eternal Delight”

      Google “Tudor Red”, you will see why King Tut coincides 70% with a haplotype of the British Isles. Red heads have particularly light skin and don’t tan well, so little is their pigment.

      • pcmustgo

        Ok, but why are there no PICTURES OF WHITE EGYPTIANS…. ???? They all look brown to me… and yes, there are some negro elements among the Egyptian look- kinky, thick hair, liked the braids (wigs, yes, but still, the head full of braids is a black thing), etc. Egyptians to me look like a middle eastern/arab/indian brown race with some black blood mixed in.

        • s shadow

          Don’t you see, PC? The original white Egyptians brought in slaves and other more more primitive groups. They overwhelmed and out reproduced the red heads, and currently occupy Egypt in all its present glory. Your observations are correct, but fail to correct for self inflicted genocide of the original inhabitants. Have a nice day.

        • FourFooted_Messiah

          They lived in a hot, sunny place. White people do tend to tan under those conditions, you know.

          But they may well have interbred, over centuries, with their darker neighbours, yes. Remember that Spaniards, Greeks and Italians used to have lighter skin and hair than they do now, thanks to TurkishéMoorish occupation.

          Another possibility is cultural perception of beauty and health. Even today, we still regard a `healthy tan` as being attractive in whites; they may have painted themselves a bit darker than they really were, to make themselves look better, on top of whatever perpetual tan they did have.

  • Barrack Osama

    Nothing has changed.

  • JDInSanDiego

    Study of King Tut’s genes finds he is more closely related to Europeans than today’s Egyptians:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwPYPaRj5uk

    “More than 50 per cent of all men in Western Europe belong to this genetic group as do up to 70 per cent of British men.”

    “But among modern-day Egyptians, less than 1 per cent of residents belong to this haplogroup, according to iGENEA.”

    “Researchers say it’s likely that King Tut and Europeans share a common ancestor who lived in the Caucasus region about 9,500 years ago.”

    “The geneticists were not sure how Tutankhamun’s paternal lineage came to Egypt from its region of origin. They say that Tut’s full paternal ancestry is unknown.”

    “Along with the discovery, iGENEA made another announcement this week: it is now selling a DNA testing service for those who would like to know if they are related to King Tut. For between 139 and 399 euros, the company will conduct testing to find which modern-day European is the closest living relative of King Tut.”

    • IstvanIN

      The Egyptians invaded Nubia, bred with the Nubians and ended up Nubian!

  • StillModerated

    This display will offend Egyptians, redheads, Afrocentrists, liberal egalitarians, and victims of politically correct skewls. The exhibit has now been flagged for immediate removal.

  • mark

    King Tut, he’s my favorite honky.

    • Sherman_McCoy

      And never did the monkey.

  • Sherman_McCoy

    “His injuries suggest he was the victim of a deliberate, violent killing during a period of peace, with his shoulder blade damaged and the rib underneath shattered in a manner consistent with a stab wound.”

    Positive proof that blacks lived in Egypt.

  • Expat 68

    “It is not known whether Ginger’s murderer was ever caught.”
    Ya think? Lol…

  • The Worlds Scapegoat

    “That, in combination with a lack of defensive wounds, indicates Ginger
    was caught by surprise and stabbed in the back as he went about his
    daily business.”

    Maybe the murderer was related to this guy.

    http://www.amren.com/news/2012/11/is-this-the-most-brutal-thug-in-britain-sickening-cctv-shows-the-moment-girl-16-is-punched-so-hard-from-behind-by-total-stranger-she-is-knocked-out-cold/

  • French_reader1

    That rulers, noblemen and priests had various degrees of European ancestry does not mean that the bulk of the population was not North African. It does not mean that the White population was indigenous either.

    It was certainly a pigmentocracy like in Puerto Rico, in Mexico, in Peru… where neither Whites nor Blacks are indigenous. Pigmentocracies without political correctness or foreign meddling can be prosperous and advanced societies. After all, that has existed to various extents in South Africa, in Algeria, or in your Southern states.

    • pcmustgo

      Yes, and while most Egyptians in those ancient paintings looked Brown (quite frankly. many ancient Eyptians looked like Puerto Ricans, like mulattoes, don’t understand why this is so difficult for people to grasp- it was neither a white or a black civilization, but a mixed race one) there are a few women shown in certain paintings that do look totally negro/black.

  • ATBOTL

    Egyptians have a lot of European ancestry(more than most other North Africans and Arabs), and not just from the Greeks and Roman, but from pre-historic times. We now know from DNA studies that people migrated back from Eurasia into Africa many times. Curiously, some groups of blacks like the Huasa in Nigeria speak Afro-Asiatic(ie related to Arabic) languages, but the Caucasian yDNA lineage they carry is largely R1B, the predominant yDNA in Western Europe, coming from Central Asia rather than the J and E lineages more associated with other Afro-Asiatic langues.

    Some how, men from the same region the Indo-Europeans originated in migrated into Egypt, down the Nile valley and across the Sahel to disperse their genes throughout Subsaharan Africa through the Bantu expansion. These men may have been the people who brought domesticated animals and metallurgy to Africa. Possibly, they adopted Afro-Asiatic language on the way. This all happened before recorded history.

    Bantu type blacks are really a hybrid of older African races with people who were from the same group that left Africa, as well as some returnees. That’s why they are less primitive than the Bushman types, pygmy types and Southern Sudanese types. Those groups have the highest amount of ancestry from African groups whose members never left.

    • pcmustgo

      So do Jews.

      “Egyptians have a lot of European ancestry(more than most other North Africans and Arabs), and not just from the Greeks and Roman, but from pre-historic times. We now know from DNA studies that people migrated back from Eurasia into Africa many times”