Archaeologists use pioneering 3D scanning to uncover death and funeral secrets of ancient mummies

CEN /MAN Arqueologico Nac
Archeologists use 3D scanning to study four ancient mummies

Reconstruction Nespamedu mummy, priest Imhotep

Mummy preserved for 4,500 years lifts secrets of ancient civilization. They will be studied by Drs Vicente Martinez de Vega, Javier Carrascoso and Silvia Badillo Rodriguez-Portugal, with help from Egyptologist Carmen Perez Die, Teresa Gomez Espinosa and Esther Pons.

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The team was accompanied during the mummies’ outing by a TV crew from Spanish channel RTVE, who will air a documentary about them next year.

CEN /MAN Arqueologico Nac
Archeologists use 3D scanning to study four ancient mummies
Mummy being scanned

The scanner, which has low levels of radiation but a very high resolution, allows the X-rays to penetrate their subject.

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In just one take, enormous amounts of information and contrasts are extracted.

CEN /MAN Arqueologico Nac
Archeologists use 3D scanning to study four ancient mummies
Team of technicians placing the mummy on scanner

More than 2,000 cross-sectional images are obtained, which are then used to construct a volumetric and tri-dimensional representation which can be studied by the team.

CEN /MAN Arqueologico Nac
Archeologists use 3D scanning to study four ancient mummies
A first look at the results of the scan to Nespamedu

Egyptologist Carmen Perez Die said: “I have spent all my life with these mummies, they are very important pieces and I am looking forward to beginning this new way of studying them with which we will learn many new things about them that until now we could not access.”

 

Archeologists use 3D scanning to study four ancient mummies
Archeologists use 3D scanning to study four ancient mummies
Miriam Villanueva, radiology technician at the time of the introduction of one of the mummies

The most recent images that the team previously had of the mummies are from radiographies taken in 1976.

 

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