Coming from the Akhmim cemetery, on the east side of the Nile in Upper Egypt, the gold-painted, lavishly decorated sarcophagus was acquired by Chicago’s Field Museum in 1925.
“From the CT scans we took in 2011, we can see that the mummy is a boy, about 14 years old, apparently in good physical condition,” Field Museum curator J.P. Brown told Discovery News.
According to the inscription on the coffin, the boy was named Minirdis. He was the son of Inaros, the hereditary stolist priest of Min, the Egyptian fertility god.
Indeed, Akhmim, located about 300 miles south of Cairo on the Nile, was one of ancient Egypt’s greatest cities and an important center of worship of Min. It is also known as the birthplace of Yuya, King Tutankhamun’s great-grandfather.
As a stolist priest, Minirdis’s father was a powerful individual who was responsible for ritually washing and clothing the statue of the god.
“Minirdis would likely have inherited the office had he lived,” Brown said.
Using specially created clamps as a cradle to lift the coffin lid, Brown and colleagues opened the sarcophagus. The aim was to restore and stabilize the mummy before it tours the country in the upcoming exhibit “Mummies: Images of the Afterlife.”
The burial mask and the blackened toes are the only visible part of the mummy. The rest of the teenage body remained wrapped in a yellowing embalming cloth.