Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Interview: Unwrapping Brooklyn's mummies

Archaeology Magazine

On June 23, 2009, a team from the Brooklyn Museum supervised by Edward Bleiberg, curator of Egyptian, Classical, and Ancient Middle Eastern Art, and Lisa Burno, Head Objects Conservator, transported four mummies from Brooklyn to North Shore University Hospital for CT scans. Drs. Jessie Chusid, Amgad Makaryus, and Karen Lisk of North Shore volunteered their time and services to scan four of the oldest patients they had ever encountered. The mummies on board were from various periods dating from the Third Intermediate Period (1064-656 B.C.) to the Roman Period (30 B.C.-A.D. 395). The trip was smooth and the CT scans went without trouble. The scans produced vast amounts of data to be sorted and analyzed, but even immediate, preliminary readings of the scans revealed some very unusual discoveries. Pasebakhaemipet, a Theban "prince" of the 21st dynasty, had a reed in his throat (1070-945 B.C.). "Lady" Hor of the 22nd Dynasty was identified as a man after 70 years of misidentification (712-664 B.C.). Thothirdes also of the 22nd Dynasty had also been misidentified as a woman, while the fourth, an unnamed first-century Roman period mummy still had some brain left in him. Bleiberg discussed the Brooklyn Museum's fascinating mummies and their CT scans with ARCHAEOLOGY's Morgan Moroney. He described what's been learned so far and the future plans for the scans, while emphasizing the importance of non-intrusive mummy unwrappings, the open exchange of scholars, excavating in museum storerooms, and public outreach.

See the above page for the full story.

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