The foetus was found in a miniature ancient Egyptian coffin measuring just 44cm in length. This discovery is the only academically verified specimen to exist at only sixteen to eighteen weeks of gestation.Scientists made the discovery after at CT Scan of the coffin they found five digits on both hands and feet and the long bones of the legs and arms.It was impossible to give a gender to the specimen and it is thought that the foetus was probably the result of a miscarriage, as there were no obvious abnormalities to explain why it could not have been carried to full-term.
Very few other examples of burials of miscarried babies have so far been identified from ancient Egypt. Tutankhamun’s tomb contained two small foetuses that had been mummified and placed in individual coffins, but these infants were both significantly more developed, at about 25 weeks and 37 weeks into gestation.
The tiny coffin was excavated at Giza in 1907 by the British School of Archaeology and came into the collection at the Fitzwilliam Museum the same year. The coffin is from the ancient Egyptian ‘Late Period’ and may date to around 664-525 BC.