On December 5th, scientists started conservation work on the Mummy of Minirdis, the 14-year-old son of a stolist priest. As a stolist, Minirdis’ father would have been responsible for tending to the needs of the gods, usually in the form of a statue, by dressing and undressing it, rubbing it with oil, and making symbolic offerings of food. The stolic priest would have also been responsible with sealing the temple shut every night to keep it safe. Due to the holiness of the position, the priest needed to keep themselves as pure as possible. One way of maintaining this purity was by shaving off all their body hair. It is likely that Minirdis was training to be a stolic priest, as well.
The Mummy of Minirdis has been a part of the collection of the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago since the 1920s. It is one of 30 complete human mummies from Egypt housed at the museum.
Before opening the coffin, CT scans were performed which showed that the boy’s feet were detached and partially unwrapped with his toes sticking out. His shroud and mask were also torn and twisted sideways.
Scientists are still not sure how the boy died, but plan to work to repair the mummy so that it will be safe to travel. For more information, visit www.fieldmuseum.org.