German 'mummy' is a hoax

26 September 2013 - 10:38 By The Daily Telegraph, London

A skeleton found in a German attic that was believed to have been a 2000-year-old mummy is in reality a plastic dummy, duped scientists conceded.

Officials said the dummy had been sprayed with a mysterious chemical that made the bones appear real to experts.

The discovery of "the mummy of Diepholz" by a 10-year-old boy in an attic in the town of Diepholz caused a sensation in Germany. Officials concluded the boy's grandfather brought the mummy back from travels in North Africa in the 1950s and left it in the attic.

"I would like to solve the puzzle," said the dentist who owned the house. "I believe my father brought this box from a trip to Africa."

Lutz Gaebler, a Lower Saxony prosecutor who declared that the "mummy" was 2000 years old, has now admitted that bone X-rays showed this was not the case.

"The mummy was unwrapped, and we have seen relatively quickly that the ingredients are not ancient," he said.

There is a real skull but an arrowhead implanted in the bone came from a child's toy.

Some experts expressed doubts at the time, pointing out that the bandages were made from 20th century cloth. But it was argued it had been wrapped up for the voyage back to Germany.