Greek Mummy in the Lead Casket
Human Mummy
Biographical Information
Name(s) Greek Mummy Found in Lead Coffin
Age 50-60 years old
Sex Female
Status High Social Status
Height 63 inches
Culture Ancient Greece
Date(s) 300 A.D.
Site Northern Greece, on the eastern cemetery of Thessaloniki
Current Location
Location Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, Greece.
Catalog # none

The mummy in the lead coffin was found was first discovered in 1962 on an archeological dig in Northern Greece. However, it was not until 2008 with Frank Rühli of the University of Zurich and a team of other researchers were they able to conclude the importance of this mummy. They used macroscopic and anthropological analyses, electron microscopy and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry examinations to learn about the mummy. It was discovered that the recovered mummy is the first evidence of Greek embalming when the Romans were in control around 300 A.D. The mummy had some hair, eyebrows and red blood cells remaining along with a single muscle in her hand which were all found to be extremely dehydrated.


The female mummy was found inside a lead coffin which was located inside a marble sarcophagus and scientists believed the coffin was made exactly for this women. She was wearing gold detailed purple silk garments indicating high social status and wealth. Through looking at the mummy's bones it was discovered she died somewhere between 50-60 years old however the cause of death remains uncertain.


Frank Rühli discovered the mummy was embalmed using a variety of herbs, resins and spices including myrrh and fats. The body was lying on a wood plank inside the lead coffin wrapped in cotton and linden bandages. The body was found extremely well preserved having a small amount of hairs, cells and tissues still intact. Researchers also believe that the lead coffin was essential to the quality of preservation however, it is unclear if this was the Ancient Greeks intentions at the time or if they were aware of this.


The study was conducted by the Swiss Mummy Project and was invasive so the mummy was left almost completely intact beside some small samples. The project in 2008 was funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Research Fund, University of Zurich.


Additional InfoEdit

The site where the Greek Mummy in the Lead Coffin was discovered was known for burial and ritual grounds in the Hellenistic to the Byzantine Periods of Greece.

External LinksEdit


Lloyd, Robin. (2008). Greek Mummy Found in Lead Coffin. Live Science. Retrieved from

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