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Three-dimensional reconstruction of an ancient Egyptian mummy

Hughes, Stephen (1996) Three-dimensional reconstruction of an ancient Egyptian mummy. In Imaging the Past. Electronic Imaging and Computer Graphics in museums and archaeology. The British Museum, London, pp. 211-225.

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Abstract

A complete series of cross-sectional computed tomography (CT) scans were obtained of a mummy of an Egyptian priestess, Tjenmutengebtiu, (Jeni), who lived in the twenty-second Dynasty (c. 945-715 BC). The purpose of this joint British Museum and St. Thomas’ Hospital project was effectively to ‘unwrap’ a mummy using cross-sectional X-rays. Jeni is encased in a beautifully decorated anthropomorphic cartonnage coffin. The head and neck were scanned with 2mm slices, the teeth with 1mm slices and the rest of the body with 4 mm slices, a 512 x 512 matrix was used. The 2D CT images, and 3D surface reconstruction’s, demonstrate many features of the embalming techniques and funerary customs of the XXII Dynasty. The presence of cloth protruding from the nasal cavities into the otherwise empty cranial cavity indicates that the brain was extracted via the nose. The remains of the heart can be seen as well as four organ packs corresponding to the mummified and repackaged lungs, intestines, stomach and liver. Each of the organ packs encloses a wax figurine representing one of the four sons of Horus. The teeth are in very good condition with little signs of wear, which, considering the gritty diet of the Egyptians, indicates that Jeni must have been very young when she died. A young age of death is also suggested by analysis of the shape of the molar teeth. The body is generally in very good condition demonstrating the consummate skill of the twenty-second Dynasty embalmers.

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ID Code: 29984
Item Type: Book Chapter
Keywords: Ancient Egypt, CT, Scanning, Mummy, Reconstruction
ISBN: 0861591143
ISSN: 0142 4815
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY (210000) > ARCHAEOLOGY (210100) > Archaeological Science (210102)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright 1996 The British Museum.
Deposited On: 25 Jan 2010 14:38
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2010 00:19

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