What caused this mans haunting expression? Why wasn’t he mummified according to custom?
The Screaming Man, also known as “Unknown Man E,” was discovered in 1881. He was buried near the Valley of the Kings alongside members of Egyptian royalty. Unknown Man E was found covered in a quicklime paste, unheard of in the Egyptian tradition, wrapped in a sheepskin — an object considered unclean for ancient Egyptians – and bound at the wrist and ankle.
The ancient Egyptians’ process of mummification was carried out according to clearly defined routines and religious principles, in order to prepare the body for the next world. Chemicals were used to dry the body out, a process which could last as long as 40 days. Then the body was coated with oils, painted with melted resins, and finally wrapped tightly in linen.
Unknown Man E was mummified but denied any of the protective magic which would allow him to reach the next world, and some scholars believe that this, together with the animal skin found on the mummy, may indicate an intentional attempt to damn this man.
The transition to the afterlife was so perilous that the ancient Egyptians tried to equip themselves with as much magical protection as possible.
The markings of the tomb walls were intended to assist or protect the deceased on his journey to the next world, and they were buried with The Book of the Dead, a collection of spells or magic formulas.
Some believe that Unknown Man E was a disgraced royal prince, son of Ramses III, the last great pharaoh of the New Kingdom.