This mummified specimen came from the only complete male skull in the burial ground of the XIth Dynasty in the temple of Mentuhotep II at Deir el-Bahari. It is among the oldest brain specimens known. The ancient Egyptians famously disregarded the brain and removed it through the nasal cavity when embalming bodies for the afterlife; however, this example suggests the doctrine did not always prevail. At the time of excavation, around 1900, ancient brains were of particular interest to anthropologists and anatomists seeking evidence of human evolution.
credit: Wellcome Collection