Friday, May 30, 2008

Egypt to carry out DNA test on a mummy to determine if it's famed Pharoah

Egypt plans to conduct a DNA test on a 3,500-year-old mummy to determine whether it belongs to King Thutmose I, one of the most famous Pharoahs, the country's chief archaeologist said Thursday.

Zahi Hawass, Egypt's antiquities chief, said the test will be carried out on an unidentified mummy found in the ancient Thebes on the west bank of the Nile, what is today Luxor's Valley of the Kings.

Egyptian experts will also X-ray the mummy, Hawass was quoted as saying by the nation's Middle East News Agency.

Hawass said a mummy currently on display in the Egyptian Museum that was purported for many years to have belonged to Thutmose I does not actually belong to him. . . .

Egypt has acquired a $5 million DNA lab, funded by the Discovery Channel, which has become a centerpiece of an ambitious plan to identify mummies and re-examine the royal mummy collection. . . .

Hawass had long refused to allow DNA testing on Egyptian mummies and only accepted it recently on condition it would only be done by Egyptian experts. He has never disclosed full results of the examinations, sometimes on grounds of national security. Though Hawass has never explained the reasons for this, apparently there is concern the tests could cast doubt on the Egyptian lineage of the mummies.

See the above page for more details.

Also on the Associated Press site.

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