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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
Special Articles

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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