Skeleton May Reveal Cleopatra’s Ancestry

Skeleton May Reveal Cleopatra’s Ancestry

Photo: Adam Carr/Wikimedia Commons.

What archaeologists believe are the skeletal remains of Cleopatra’s sister, Princess Arsinoe, may solve the mystery of the ancient Egyptian queen’s ethnic heritage, the Sunday Times reports.
The remains of Princess Arsinoe were discovered by an Austrian team in what is now Turkey but was the Roman city of Ephesus at the time of Arsinoe’s death. Her death is widely believed to have been ordered by Cleopatra, and the story of the discovery will be part of a BBC documentary titled “Cleopatra: Portrait of a Killer.”
Many researchers believed that Cleopatra was of Greek ethnicity, but evidence obtained by studying Princess Arsinoe’s remains indicates that she — and likely Cleopatra — were of mixed European, Egyptian and African heritage.
“It is unique in the life of an archaeologist to find the tomb and the skeleton of a member of Ptolemaic dynasty,” said Dr. Hilke Theur, leader of the Austrian team, in the Telegraph. “The results of the forensic examination and the fact that the facial reconstruction shows that Arsinoe had an African mother is a real sensation which leads to a new insight on Cleopatra’s family and the relationship of the sisters Cleopatra and Arsinoe.”


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