NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. (WKBN) — There’s plenty of legend surrounding a 2,000-year-old mummy at Westminster College, and some new information has come to light.
This week, the mummy was removed from its coffin for the first time. Underneath, conservators saw the image of a goddess painted on the inside of the coffin.
The mummy has been on campus since 1885, donated by a graduate who was a missionary in Egypt. The graduate bought it for $8 in Egypt and shipped it to the United States for $5.
She is called “Pesed,” which is the modern-day equivalent of the name Claire. Her life dates to 250 B.C.
The tears on her face are linked to a preservative salt. It was preserved with 2 inches of linens, with the quality higher than expected.
“She was clearly from a wealthy family who cared a lot about her and provided very well for her burial and, and her afterlife,” said Dr. Jonathan Elias, director of the Mummy Studies Consortium.
Pesed had damage to her feet and head. Conservator Mimi Leveque is working to fix it, including the mask covering her face, and a broken nose.
“And I’m using tinted pieces of Japanese tissue to mend around the breaks on the edge so that you won’t notice that the break is there, and so she’ll look more like she has a full nose,” Leveque said.
Those who study her believe that Pesed was a 50- or 60-year-old woman, around 4-feet 8-inches tall. She had osteoporosis, and her legs were in great shape from activity.
The writing outside the coffin translates to an offering to a god of eternity, her name and a little genealogy.
Pesed will go back in the coffin once she’s fixed so students can see her for the next 1,000 years.
“And that gives anybody an afterlife. Good heavens, I mean, if somebody knew my name after 2,000 or 3,000 years, I’d be amazed, so this is what we’re doing for her,” Leveque said.