Amazing CT scan of mummy

The mummy has been at the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute since 1920, safely ensconced in a beautifully decorated sarcophagus. They couldn’t open it without destroying it, so the mummy has never been seen.

Thanks to the marvels of modern technology, now we can all see it in astonishing detail.

The mummy was discovered in Luxor, Egypt, and sold to the Oriental Institute in 1920.

Teeter said the coffin, painted and carved to look like the figure of a beautiful woman, is an archeological marvel. She said singers who served in Egyptian temples were traditionally young, beautiful women from high-ranking families.

Hieroglyphs on the front of the coffin tell researchers more about the mummy’s life. The woman’s name was Meresamun, which means “Amun Loves Her,” and she was a singer in the temple of the Egyptian god Amun.

CT scans are often used to view mummies, but most of them are not in pristine condition. Researchers, grave robbers and hobbyists have messed with them over the centuries.

This case is remarkable because the casket has been sealed shut for 2800 years, so Meresamun has all kinds of secrets to share.

Her cause of death is not one of them, however. It was most likely some kind of infectious disease, because there is no visible trauma. She was about 30 when she died, and her skeleton suggests she was healthy until right before she died.

Check out this footage of the CT scan with commentary by University of Chicago Medical Center radiologist Dr. Michael Vannier. I can’t embed it ’cause they’re meanies, but believe me it’s well worth a click.

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8 Comments »

Comment by Pierre
2009-02-13 23:40:57

That’s what the future is all about, non-destructive archaeological processes. However, there are still lots of situation who brings up the saddening situation between chosing preservation and analysis.

Comment by livius drusus
2009-02-14 08:19:39

True that. I love to see hard science enlisted in support of archaeology. Chemistry was one of my favorite subjects just like History was.

 
 
Comment by Dina
2009-02-16 01:40:44

I enjoyed that video. Amazing. Thanks.
:skull: Looking at her strange skull, I wonder what kind of pillow she slept on.

Comment by livius drusus
2009-02-16 08:05:40

Maybe she was part of a weird-skulled family. At least one of the pharoah dynasties had freakishly pointed skulls, like coneheads. Marrying your sisters for a few hundred years will do that to a genepool.

 
 
Comment by Clutch
2009-02-16 08:31:00

What a great story. The video is amazing.

Comment by livius drusus
2009-02-16 08:42:43

It is. Now I want to see them do that for every mummy in the world.

Comment by Dina
2009-02-17 00:42:01

That reminds me of an old cartoon. A cat walks several times around a patient and the doctor tells her, “That will be $200 for the CAT scan.” :giggle:

Comment by livius drusus
2009-02-17 08:28:31

Yer silly. :giggle:

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