Friday, July 16, 2010

Education kit based on analysis of mummy remains

Science Alert

The perennial fascination of ancient Egyptian mummies is being used by Queensland University of Technology researcher Dr Stephen Hughes to teach children about the application of physics to the field of archaeology.

Dr Hughes has produced an education kit for teachers about his experience of "unwrapping" the secrets of a mummy of a young woman who died around 715 BCE and reconstructing her face from x-ray images. Using ordinary x-ray and CT x-ray scanning, the researchers could look inside the body without having to open the ornate, body-shaped coffin.

"The mummy was of a female of high rank called Tjetmutjengebtiu, or 'Jeni' for short, who was a singer in the great temple of Karnak, and had been held in the British Museum for 100 years," Dr Hughes said.

"I led a team of researchers using modern diagnostic technology to examine the mummy without leaving a pile of bones and dust, yards of linen and a broken coffin as usually happens when mummies are taken out of their coffin and unwrapped.

"CT scans enable the undisturbed internal arrangements of the mummy to be studied and for information about the bones to be gathered which would be difficult to do even if the mummy were unwrapped.

No comments: