/ Science / CT scans let you see inside a mummy in amazing detail

CT scans let you see inside a mummy in amazing detail

Andrea on June 11, 2014 - 2:18 pm in Science
Egyptologists have been using medical imaging technology to study mummies for many years now. An exhibit at the British Museum called “Ancient lives, new discoveries” is letting visitors peel back the layers for a closer look — virtually, of course.

The image you see above was generated from CT scans, and the 3D images produced using rendering software that’s more commonly used in the automotive industry. Visitors to the museum will be able to tap and swipe on a series of interactive displays (likely provided by Samsung, who are sponsoring the exhibit) to explore the mummies in unprecedented detail.

Imagery like this provides researchers with valuable insight into the daily lives of ancient Egyptians. This particular mummy was a woman, and one who had to deal with a rather large (and probably tremendously painful) abscess in her jaw.

There’s also an indication that she may have had cardiovascular trouble: arteries that are full of plaque, though based on recent research it’s possible that this wasn’t a sedentary Egyptian with dietary issues. She may actually have suffered the same “excessive endurance exercise” effect that many marathon runners do.

You’ll also notice a few foreign objects embedded in the mummy that were revealed by the CT scans. There’s a pair of metal plates placed near the abdominal incision that embalmers would have used to remove her internal organs. Typically these were placed atop hot wax to seal the opening. You can also see that her eyes have been removed and replaced, likely with glass or stone in this case (though painted linen was also sometimes used).


Tamut was the daughter of a priest, and she died around 3,000 years ago. She’s one of eight mummies that will be on display as part of the exhibit. The show’s on until late November, so you’ll need to book your tickets to London soon — or hope that they send it on tour once it wraps up.

Source: Science – Geek.com

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