Experts have revealed what a 2,600-year-old mummy looked like when she was alive. Named Shep-en-Isis (or Schepenese), she has been described as being a “beautiful young lady”.
Shep-en-Isis lived during the 7th century BC in Egypt. Her skeleton was unearthed back in 1819 at an area near the Nile River where mortuary temples and tombs are located. In fact, her remains were discovered alongside her father’s in a mortuary temple named Pharaoh Hatshepsut (her father was a priest in the city of Thebes).
Based on inscriptions found on her sarcophagus, it is believed that she was part of a wealthy family and was educated. However, her husband’s name and what he did for a living is still unknown, in addition to whether or not she had any children. It is believed that she died in her 30s as Dr. Michael Habicht from Flinders University explained to Aventuras na História, “Based on Shep-en-Isis’ anatomical age and the style of her inner coffin, she must have been born by around 650 BC and died between 620 and 610 BC.”
In 1820, Shep-en-Isis’ skeleton was brought to Switzerland and is currently held in the São Galo Abbey Library in St. Gallen. People have described her as being the most famous Egyptian mummy in Switzerland.
For numerous months, scientists worked on reconstructing the facial features of the female mummy (the project included experts from the FAPAB Research Center in Sicily, Flinders University in Australia, and a 3D designer from Brazil named Cicero Moraes). They did the recreation by using CT scans as well as morphological data based on the mummy’s remains.
They reconstructed the tissue, skin, and eyes prior to adding more details like a few small freckles around her nose. They were able to reconstruct the shape of her ear as it was very well preserved. Her slightly protruding teeth were incredibly well preserved as well. On the other hand, experts had to assume that she had brown eyes and olive skin based on her Egyptian ancestry. Additionally, wigs, clothes, and jewelry were not added as they may not have been properly assumed.
The experts described their facial recreation project by stating, “Our reconstruction focuses exclusively on the forensically reconstructed appearance and the anatomical evidence,” adding, “The harmonious and well-proportioned skull suggests that Schepenese was probably a beautiful lady during her lifetime.” Their results have been published in a monograph called “The Forensic Facial Reconstruction of Shep-en-Isis”.
Several pictures of what Shep-en-Isis was believed to have looked like based on facial reconstruction can be seen here.