Yangju Child
Human Mummy
120529102256 1 540x360
Biographical Information
Name(s) Unknown
Age 4-6 years old
Sex m
Status high
Height Unknown
Culture Joseon Dynasty
Date(s) 16th Century AD
Site Yangju, South Korea
Current Location
Location Seokjuseon Memorial Museum
Catalog # Unknown

The child mummy was found in a wooden coffin with the outermost lime–soil mixture barrier intact. The Child Mummy of Yangju is extremely important towards the progress of research on the Ancient Hepatitis B Virus. The child mummy's biopsy revealed that the child had HBV-C2. HBV has a high mortality rate even today, so any further analysis is well documented.


The child was naturally mummified.


Endoscopic exams found that well-preserved internal organs remained within the thoracic, abdominal and cranial cavities. The internal organs – including the brain, spinal cord, lung, muscles, liver, heart, intestine, diaphragm and mesentery – were investigated. a heart remnant was found within the thoracic cavity, although it was notably shrunken. Unusual nodules were found on the surface of the intestines and liver. the nodules might have been caused by unknown pathological changes resulting from tuberculosis or hydatid disease, but it's unclear.

Studies done compare the Ancient Hepatitis Virus with the modern one. It has provided more insight on the genomes and development of the infection.


The first full viral genome of Hepatitis B Virus was extracted from the child mummy. The complete sequence obtained probably represents a wild‐type HBV pathogen without precore mutations, which infected the population during the Joseon Dynasty in Korea approximately 400‐500 years ago. Based on analysis, the virus most probably originated in China or Japan and spread to Korea.

External Links


Hebrew University of Jerusalem. (2012, May 29). 16th-century Korean mummy provides clue to hepatitis B virus genetic code. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 6, 2017 from

Buggs, Adrienne (2014, Dec 16). Viral Hepatitis. MedScape. Retrieved from

Tracing hepatitis B virus to the 16th century in a Korean mummy

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