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Life and Times of Takabuti in Ancient EgyptInvestigating the Belfast Mummy$
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Rosalie David and Eileen Murphy

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781800348585

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781800348585.001.0001

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Radiocarbon Dating of Takabuti

Radiocarbon Dating of Takabuti

Chapter:
Radiocarbon Dating of Takabuti
Source:
Life and Times of Takabuti in Ancient Egypt
Author(s):

Jenefer Metcalfe

Paula Reimer

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781800348585.003.0007

The objective of the 21st century research was to learn more about the life and times of Takabuti through the application of modern scientific techniques. Based on the style of her coffin, early scholarship had indicated that Takabuti lived around 600 BCE; using samples of hair and bandage from the mummy, AMS radiocarbon dating was employed to test the validity of this date. Samples of Takabuti’s well-preserved hair were taken for analysis to the University of Manchester where electron microscopy revealed that the hair contained head-lice at the time of death, and other tests revealed that, shortly before or after death, her hair had been dressed and artificially curled, using a hair gel to hold the style in place. When a strand of hair was cross-sectioned and examined, the shape characterised a Caucasian rather than an Asian or African individual. This raised the question of Takabuti’s ancestry – had some of her forebears immigrated to Egypt from elsewhere? DNA analysis defines the relationship between Takabuti and modern populations from Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Isotope analysis of oxygen and strontium in the teeth demonstrates the extent to which Takabuti moved from place to place during her lifetime.

Keywords:   Electron microscopy, DNA analysis, Isotope analysis

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