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First-time complete visualization of a preserved meningeal artery in the mummy of Nakht-ta-Netjeret (ca. 950 BC)


The preservation of the meningeal artery in ancient mummified bodies, particularly in anthropogenic Egyptian mummies, is a highly controversial topic in neuroscience and anthropological research. A recent (2015) debate between Wade and Isidro, based on the interpretation of the meningeal grooves and cast in a skull from the necropolis of Kom al-Ahmar Sharuna (Egypt), highlighted both the necessity of having clear radiological descriptions of this anatomical structure and of assessing large collections of mummified crania. Here, we present for the first time an instance of extremely well-preserved middle meningeal artery in the mummy of the ancient Egyptian dignitary Nakht-ta-Netjeret (ca. 950 BC), still inside the meninx, using paleo-radiological techniques. We finally link this find with experimental data from the neurological literature on the methodology of excerebration implemented by ancient Egyptian embalmers.

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The authors thank the team of the Institute of Forensic Medicine of the University of Zurich (Zurich, Switzerland), under the direction of Prof. Michael Thali, for permission to perform the CT examination at their facilities and technical support. Thanks also go to the staff of the Musée d’Ethnographie (Neuchâtel, Switzerland) for their precious cooperation and kind permission to use the images of the discussed mummy.


The authors received financial support of their research from the following sponsoring bodies: The Swiss National Science Foundation (The Canopic Jar Project—grant number: 162803); The Mäxi Foundation, Zurich, Switzerland.

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Correspondence to Francesco M. Galassi.

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Seiler, R., Habicht, M.E., Rühli, F.J. et al. First-time complete visualization of a preserved meningeal artery in the mummy of Nakht-ta-Netjeret (ca. 950 BC). Neurol Sci 40, 409–411 (2019).

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  • Meningeal artery
  • Neuroanatomy
  • Neuro-imaging
  • Ancient Egypt
  • Mummies
  • Anthropology