TURIN, Italy, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Archaeologists believe a pair of mummified legs, currently on display in Italy's Egyptian Museum, belong to one of Egypt's most famous queens, Nefertari Meritmut. Queen Nefertari was the first -- and favorite -- of the Great Royal Wives of Ramesses the Great.
A team of scientists, led by University of York archaeologists Stephen Buckley and Joann Fletcher, used radiocarbon dating, genetics and chemical analysis, as wells as anthropology and paleopathology techniques, to identify the mummified remains.
Chemical analysis suggest the embalming materials conform with mummification techniques of the 13th century B.C. Additional tests suggest the legs are those of a 40-year-old woman. The revelations, taken in totality with the other tests, suggest the remains belong to Nefertari.
"This has been the most exciting project to be part of, and a great privilege to be working alongside with some of the world's leading experts in this area," Fletcher said in a news release.
Nefertari was buried in the Valley of the Queens in a lavishly decorated tomb. The burial chamber was looted several times during antiquity. Italian archaeologists excavated what remained in 1904. The artifacts, including the mummified legs, were sent to the Egyptian Museum in Turin. The legs had not been scientifically analyzed until now.
The researchers published their discovery in the journal PLOS ONE.
"Both Stephen and myself have a long history studying Egypt's royal mummies, and the evidence we've been able to gather about Nefertari's remains not only complements the research we've been doing on the queen and her tomb but really does allow us to add another piece to the jigsaw of what is actually known about Egyptian mummification," Fletcher concluded.