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Extensive pulmonary haemorrhage in an Egyptian mummy


We report on the morphological and trace element findings of several internal organs from an Egyptian mummy approximately dating from the year 950 B.C. according to 14C-analysis. By use of a multidisciplinary approach we succeeded in discovering evidence for severe and presumably recurrent pulmonary bleeding during life. This was suggested by the finding of massive haemosiderin deposits in the lung and a selectively and markedly elevated level of iron in trace element analysis of the lung tissue. Furthermore, we observed an enhanced deposition of birefringent particles in the lung tissue, without significant fibrosis. The histological analysis of liver, stomach and intestine confirmed the macroscopic organ diagnoses without evidence of any major pathological processes. In addition, analysis for various drugs revealed a significant deposition of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), nicotine and cocaine in several organs of the mummy. The concentration profiles additionally provide evidence for a preferential inhalation of THC, while nicotine and cocaine containing drugs seem to have been consumed orally.

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Correspondence to A. G. Nerlich.

Additional information

This manuscript is dedicated to Prof. Dr. M. Eder on the occasion on his 70th birthday

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Nerlich, A.G., Wiest, I., Löhrs, U. et al. Extensive pulmonary haemorrhage in an Egyptian mummy. Vichows Archiv A Pathol Anat 427, 423–429 (1995).

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Key words

  • Paleopathology
  • Pulmonary haemorrhage
  • Parasitosis
  • Drugs