News & Information

Archaeologists Turn to the FBI for Help with 4,000-year-old Mummy

Top of Mind with Julie Rose
  • Apr 23, 2018 11:00 pm
  • 15:42

Guest: Odile Loreille, PhD, Research Biologist, FBI For nearly a century, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston has had a 4,000-year-old Egyptian mummy head in its vaults. Archaeologists were pretty sure the head belonged to Governor Djehutynakht - or his wife - because it was found in their tomb in 1915. But by that point looters had done a number on the tomb, so the mummified head was jumbled in all the mess left behind. Once archaeologists had exhausted their methods of identification, they called the FBI – which does a lot of DNA analysis, as you can imagine, being a crime-solving agency. Sort of an Indiana Jones meets the X-Files crossover here. But could they extract enough DNA from a 4,000 mummified head to glean any information? FBI research biologist Odile Loreille wasn’t sure, but she gave it a shot. And what she discovered is pretty incredible.