Video, with partial transcript.
Back in 2006 Gerry Conlogue and Ron Beckett used x-rays, a c-t scanner and endoscope to look inside Pa Ib. He's a mummy that has been on display at the PT Barnum Museum in Bridgeport, Connecticut since 1896. Conlogue and Beckett are scientists. Three years ago they were looking for clues into Pa Ib's identity. The radiologist who looked at the x-rays then came across something startling. There is a packet of some kind inside Pa Ib's abdomen.
Prof. Gerald Conlogue, Quinnipiac University: He thought he saw a falcon mummy in there so instead of an organ packet he thought it was an actual mummified bird within the body cavity. This is what we're going to be looking for.
Although it is rare scientists have found bird mummies connected to human mummies in the past.
Researchers are using the latest imaging technology on an Egyptian mummy to try to unlock secrets of the ancient world, including whether a mysterious packet inside her was an offering to the gods to help secure a place in the afterlife.
The high-resolution testing Thursday at Quinnipiac University also may determine the age at which the woman died and whether she gave birth, researchers say.
"It really is going to give us a fantastic view of this mummy," said Ronald Beckett, co-director of the Bioanthropology Research Institute at Quinnipiac. "Every mummy has a story to tell. Every piece of information adds to our understanding of the ancient Egyptians."
The mummy, known as Pa-Ib (pronounced py eeb) and believed to be about 4,000 years old, will be transported Thursday in a coffin complete with a police escort from the Barnum Museum in Bridgeport to the university's campus in North Haven. A CT scanner will take images that are eight times the resolution of tests done on the mummy in 2006, and a tiny camera will be inserted inside the mummy.
Researchers are trying to determine if bundles in the abdomen and pelvis cavities contain a bird mummy or are organs. The earlier tests led to speculation that the bundles might contain a bird mummy.
And the results:
SFGate (John Christoffersen)
Researchers who examined an Egyptian mummy with the latest imaging technology found no evidence that a packet inside her was an offering to the gods of the ancient world.
Previous tests led to speculation that the packet was a bird mummy — something researchers said would be an unusual and exciting find — but high-resolution tests Thursday at Quinnipiac University showed no remnants of a bird. Instead, researchers said the packet and a few others in the mummy likely contained organs, which were sometimes preserved and placed back in mummies for use in the afterlife.
The mummy, known as Pa-Ib and believed to be about 4,000 years old, has been in the Barnum Museum in Bridgeport since the 1890s and was a prized exhibit of the flamboyant showman P.T. Barnum.
It was transported Thursday in a coffin complete with a police escort from the museum to the university's campus in North Haven.
A CT scanner took thousands of images that are eight times the resolution of tests done in 2006, and a tiny camera was inserted inside the mummy's skull. Researchers expect to report their conclusions in March.