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Mummy 'princess' under examination

October 27, 2000 KARACHI (The Nation) - Crime Branch Police of Karachi in a raid in Quetta recovered a mummy in a wooden box measuring 196 cm in length and 56 cm in height. The mummy seems to be of a princess or have lineage of royal family, was wearing a golden crown, golden plate on her chest on which Old Persian cuneiform script is written. Photo here

Inspector General Police Sindh, Aftab Nabi, DIG Karachi and Tariq Jamil of Crime Branch, noted historian, Ahmed Hassan Dani, Director General Archaeology, Saeedur Rehman and others of National Museum of Pakistan briefed the journalists on different aspects of the mummy and its recovery at National Museum Thursday afternoon.

The box was recovered from Sardar Wali Mohammad Reeki (Baloch) in Satellite Town on pointation of Haji Ali Akbar Baloch of Quetta held by police as he had a video cassette of the body. Sardar Wali had been detained by Quetta police and Akbar is in Karachi Police custody, said acting DIG Karachi.

Police sought help from DG, Museum and Archaeology who contacted the historian, Ahmed Hassan Dani. Though, Dani, told journalists that the identity of the mummy was not established yet police issued a Press release saying that her name was Khorul Gayan or Tundul Gayan, and 2,600 years back Karoosh ul Kabir from the family of Khamam ul Nishiyan was her father. They were Zurtasht.

'The British Museum will be contacted and they will tell us the details of the mummy', said Dani adding that the cuneiform script was written by Sumerians, Mesopotamian and then by Iranian dynasty.

He said that chemical analysis will take a week and after that the identity and other details would be known. To a question, he said, according to the Antiquity Act of government of Pakistan, the mummy is the property of the government but it may be given to the country, if claimed, the mummy belongs to that.

He told that such mummies are found in Egypt though other types of mummies are found in China and Mexico. 'If Egypt proves that the mummy might belong to Egypt, it has to request Pakistan Government through UNESCO and under UNESCO's laws if the identity is proven by Egypt, the same may be returned to Egypt', Dani added.

To a question, DG, Archaeology said that after the identification, the mummy would be preserved at museum in Pakistan and would be displayed for public.

However, the brief history issued by the police in a Press release and compiled by Dr Asma Ibrahim, Curator, National Museum of Pakistan, said that the mummy was reportedly found at Kharan (Balochistan). The coffin is of old wood and with the carving of supreme deity of Zoraostians/Persians called Aura Mazda with two sacred altars.

Holy plants/trees are depicted on top of the coffin and 'sacred' flowers symbol is depicted on the other two sides. On the top of the mummy is a cover, made of crushed crystals of granite or Alabaster mixed with wax. This may be dried in the sun or due to fire. The mummy wrapped by the bandage in a typical Egyptian way is placed in a mat along with wax and honey mixture.

The mummy has placed both her hands on her chest and it seems that she is holding something in her hands. 'The dating and origin of the mummy is yet to be confirmed till the cuneiform script is fully deciphered and the scientific dating is carried out', said the report of Dr. Asma Ibrahim.

She guessed that the mummy might belong to the period of Cyrus-I (G-640-590) and his brother Ariaramnes whose gold tablet is discovered by chance find made at Hamadan on which is engraved in cuneiform signs and in the old Persian language.


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