Thursday, October 29, 2009

In the Lab

Another mummy goes through the scanner
Miami Herald
Christine Veiga

With the push of a button, the CT scanner whirred and lurched forward.

A centuries-old mummy was about to undergo a 21st-century medical examination.

In the name of art and science, the Bass Museum of Art in Miami Beach and Mount Sinai Medical Center in Aventura came together this month to examine the remains of a mummy recently rediscovered in the museum's collection.

Using the latest medical technology, the team hopes to unwrap secrets about the mummy's life and death.

``Specifically, personally -- what was his story?'' asked Silvia Karman Cubiñá, executive director and chief curator of the Bass. ``We're going to try to determine that.''

The secrets of the Egyptian mummy, believed to be thousands of years old, will be revealed at a Bass Museum exhibit next year.

As the head of the mummy passed through the machine, images resembling a map of the night sky popped up on a computer screen in an adjacent room. Within minutes, the images joined to reveal an intact skull and an almost full set of teeth. A gaping black cavity showed no brain inside the skull -- Egyptians removed the organ through the nose during mummification, as it was considered unnecessary for the afterlife.

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