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Computed Tomography Study of the Feet of Mummy of Ramesses III: New Insights on the Harem Conspiracy

Saleem, Sahar N. MBBCh, MSc, MD; Hawass, Zahi PhD

Journal of Computer Assisted Tomography: January 2017 - Volume 41 - Issue 1 - p 15–17
doi: 10.1097/RCT.0000000000000489
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Objective: A previous study of the computed tomography (CT) of the neck of mummified Ramesses III (1190-1070 BC) suggested that an assailant slit the Pharaoh's throat with a knife in the plot known as Harem conspiracy. We hypothesized the presence of other injuries in the Pharaoh's body as a result of this fatal attack.

Methods: We analyzed CT images of mummified Ramesses III and reported any finding suggestive of trauma in correlation with archeologic literature.

Results: Computed tomographic images show partially amputated left big toe. The bony edges are sharp without signs of attempted healing. The ancient embalmers replaced the missing toe with a linen-made prosthesis and placed 6 metallic amulets (eye of Horus) at the feet region.

Conclusions: The Pharaoh's left big toe was likely chopped perimortem by an assailant using a heavy sharp instrument as an ax. This additional injury supports the plot and gives more information about the death scene.

From the *Kasr Al Ainy Faculty of Medicine, Radiology Department, Cairo University; and †Department State for Antiquities of Egypt, Cairo, Egypt.

Received for publication May 12, 2016; accepted May 18, 2016.

Correspondence to: Sahar N. Saleem, MBBCh, MSc, MD, 64 St, 14 Maadi, Cairo, Egypt (e-mail:

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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