Sunday, September 18, 2011

CT Scanners Crack Open a Mummy Mystery


With short video.

In the late 1950s, the Natural History Museum received an ancient Egyptian mummy from the Wistar Institute. For years, curators and researchers knew very little about the body wrapped up inside. But recent technological advancements have revealed the individual’s age and gender—a male, roughly 40 years old—as well as something else hidden within the wrappings, says Dave Hunt, an anthropologist at the Natural History Museum.

“He has three packets that were inside of the abdomen. They removed all the organs, and these have been stuffed back up in there to fill it out again,” says Hunt. Packing the linen rolls back inside, he says, was part of the mummification process for high-status individuals, so that they would more closely resemble what they had looked like during life. “In their religious beliefs, for the Baa spirit, the body was their temple, their place for residing at night. They left during the day and they came back at night, and they had to recognize who to come back to,” he says.

These revelations and many more have come thanks to the use of CT scanning technology.

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