Egyptian mummy cold case closed: 'Takabuti' was stabbed to death

The elite woman also had two rare conditions; an extra tooth and an extra vertebra.


The remains of Takabuti, a woman who was murdered 2,600 years ago in Egypt.

It took 2,600 years to crack the case, but Egyptologists have finally determined how a curly haired, elite woman from ancient Thebes met her untimely end.


The 20-something-year-old Takabuti was murdered in a violent knife attack, researchers announced today (Jan. 27), on the 185th anniversary of the mummy's original unwrapping, in 1835, according to a statement from The University of Manchester in England.


An analysis of Takabuti's mummified remains revealed more of her secrets. She had two rare conditions; an extra tooth (33 instead of 32), and an extra vertebra, the researchers said.

Who was Takabuti?

Although Takabuti was from ancient Thebes (today's Luxor), her mummy got caught up in the intense Egyptian mummy trade that followed the Napoleonic Wars. When Thomas Greg, a wealthy Irish man, acquired her remains in 1834 and brought them from Egypt to Belfast, Takabuti was the first known Egyptian mummy to reach Ireland.


At the time, Egyptologist Edward Hincks deciphered the hieroglyphics on the mummy case, according to Stair na hÉireann, a site detailing Ireland's history. Hincks found that the woman had been named Takabuti and that at the time of her death she was married, in her 20s and had been the mistress of a great house in Thebes. Hincks' translations also revealed that the woman's father was a priest who served Amun, the sun god."


There is a rich history of testing Takabuti since she was first unwrapped in Belfast in 1835," Greer Ramsey, curator of archaeology at National Museums Northern Ireland, said in a statement. In recent years, Takabuti has undergone scans with X-rays and CT (computed tomography), hair analysis, and radiocarbon dating, the latter of which showed that she lived around 660 B.C., at the end of the 25th dynasty.


The most recent tests included a DNA analysis and further CT scans. Both revealed unexpected results, the researchers said. The mummy case for Takabuti, a young woman who was murdered with a knife.


Takabuti was an elite woman who lived in Thebes during the 25th dynasty. (Image credit: Ulster Museum)


Dr. Robert Loynes, a retired orthopedic surgeon and an honorary lecturer in The University of Manchester's KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology, prepares the mummy for study. (Image credit: Ulster Museum)