Life and Times of Takabuti in Ancient EgyptInvestigating the Belfast Mummy

Life and Times of Takabuti in Ancient EgyptInvestigating the Belfast Mummy

Rosalie David and Eileen Murphy

Print publication date: 2022

ISBN: 9781800348585

Publisher: Liverpool University Press


The mummy of Takabuti is one of the best known antiquities in the Ulster Museum, Belfast. Takabuti was a young woman who lived in Egypt during a tumultuous period, c. 600 BC. Her mummy was unwrapped and investigated in Belfast in 1835. While the focus of the book is on Takabuti, it shows how the combination of archaeological, historical and inscriptional evidence with multidisciplinary scientific techniques can enable researchers to gain a wealth of information about ancient Egypt. This not only relates to the individual historical context, ancestry and life events associated with Takabuti, but also to wider issues of health and disease patterns, lifestyle, diet, and religious and funerary customs in ancient Egypt. This multi-authored book demonstrates how researchers act as ‘forensic detectives’ piecing together a picture of the life and times of Takabuti. Questions addressed include – Who was Takabuti? When did she live? Where did she come from and where did she reside? What did she eat, and did she suffer from any diseases? Did she suffer a violent death, and how was she mummified and prepared for burial?

Table of Contents

Introduction to the Takabuti Project

Rosalie David and Eileen Murphy

Radiocarbon Dating of Takabuti

Jenefer Metcalfe and Paula Reimer

Radiocarbon Dating

Paula Reimer and Jenefer Metcalfe

Mitochondrial DNA of Takabuti

Konstantina Drosou

Takabuti’s Hair

Natalie McCreesh and Andrew Gize

Imaging Takabuti: Radiology and Osteology

Eileen Murphy, Robert Loynes and Judith Adams†

Takabuti’s Teeth

Roger Forshaw

Takabuti’s Health: Techniques and Findings

Anthony Freemont and Davide Chasserini

Retrieval of Tissue Samples

Robert Loynes and Mark Regan

Stable Isotopes and Takabuti’s Diet

Jenefer Metcalfe and Paula Reimer

How Did Takabuti Die?

Robert Loynes

Mummification Methods Used on Takabuti

Robert Loynes and Judith Adams†

Analysis of Takabuti’s Mummification Resin and Packing Material

Keith White, Bart van Dongen and Sharon Fraser

The Face of Takabuti

Caroline Wilkinson and Sarah Shrimpton

Takabuti’s Legacy

David Tosh

End Matter