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There would need to have been a facility to conduct mummification, which in itself would have taken half a ton of drying chemicals.

The act of mummification must have taken place within 24 hours of the woman’s death.

A few months later, in October 2000, Pakistani police in Karachi arrested one Ali Akbar on suspicion of selling a mummy, along with tribal leader Wali Mohammad Reeki of Quetta, who was in possession of it.

This mummy was later found to be the one featured in the photographs seen by Muscarella.

The Department of International History (@lsehistory) teaches and conducts research on the international history of Britain, Europe and the world from the early modern era up to the present day.

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSEgulf A podcast of this event is available to download from The Arab/Persian Binary: histories of culture and conflict in the Persian Gulf.

Riggi claimed to be acting on behalf of a Pakistani acquaintance, and said that the mummy was available for purchase.

The translation, prepared by a ‘cuneiform expert at a major American university’ (Romey and Rose 2001: 25), identified the mummy as the daughter of the fifth-century BC Achaemenid Persian King Xerxes.

Radiocarbon dates suggested a date of death around 1996.

The autopsy could not show whether the woman’s neck had been broken deliberately or not, but Pakistani police launched a murder investigation.

Roham Alvandi is is Associate Professor of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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