One of the Field Museum’s mummies is a 40-year-old woman who had lower back pain.
A second was a teenager who may have jumped to his death.
Another mummy has no torso.
“It was a bit of a shocker” learning that within the sarcophagus was a skull and legs but nothing to join them, said J.P. Brown, associate conservator for the museum’s department of anthropology.
The murky life and times of the Field’s ancient mummy collection, the largest in the Americas, recently got a little clearer. Since July 6, select mummies from ancient Egypt and Peru were given CT scans in a trailer in the museum parking lot. The CT machine was donated by Genesis Medical Imaging in far northwest suburban Huntley.
By providing a mobile CT scan unit free of charge to Chicago's famed The Field Museum for a series of mummy scans this month, Genesis Medical Imaging, Inc. has helped discover ancient secrets, and opened the door to new mysteries.
Field scientists were surprised to find only a skull and legs inside the wrappings of one Egyptian mummy and the baskets of four Peruvian specimens simply empty, with no mummies inside. Yet it was all instructive for the museum's researchers, who after several days of scanning objects more than 2,000 years old are more certain of what their collection actually holds.
Several of the museum's oldest and most delicate specimens were moved with painstaking care last week to the museum's back parking lot, where they slowly passed through an advanced multi-slice computed tomography scanner in a 53-foot semi-truck trailer specially configured by Genesis.