US museum unwrapping mummy's story with CT scan

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US museum unwrapping mummy's story with CT scan

Post by Winged Isis » Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:06 pm

US museum unwrapping mummy's story with CT scan
Refined technology helps give a clearer picture of life in ancient Egypt, this time on Tjeby, a mummy estimated to be 4,000 years old
AP , Sunday 3 Feb 2013

Using modern technology, a Virginia museum is working to unwrap the story behind one of the earliest surviving Egyptian mummies.

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond partnered this week with a medical imaging center to complete a CT scan on Tjeby, its 4,000-year-old mummy, in hopes of piecing together more information about the mummy itself and better understanding the early history of the mummification process.

While it isn't the first time a mummy has gone under the digital knife, only a handful from the time period have been examined in this fashion. The information gathered will help provide greater detail of the body, create a 3-D digital model and even reconstruct the face of the mummy that has been on display off and on since being acquired by the museum in 1953.

Little is known about Tjeby, who was buried in a rock-cut tomb at a site known as Sheikh Farag in upper Egypt and excavated in 1923.

What museum officials do know is that he dates to between 2150 and 2030 BCE, a time of instability in Egypt, with the breakdown of central authority and economic decline. Previous research suggests Tjeby was 25 to 40 years old when he died.

Experts hope a closer look at data will help piece together more biographical information, such as Tjeby's specific age, diet and cause of death. They also will look at the materials used to mummify the body and the amount of soft tissue that has survived, and will determine whether organs have been removed, as they were in mummies from later periods.

Researchers say the technology allows them to learn about the mummy in remarkable detail without invasive or damaging procedures.
"It's easier to unlock that door of mystery to discover the secrets of the past," said Alex Nyerges, the museum's director. He anticipates incorporating information gleaned from the scan into the display of the mummy, which also includes its coffin and other artifacts from inside, such as a model of a boat and a granite statue.

The first mummy CT scan took place in 1977. But back then — and even when Tjeby had his first imaging scan in 1986 — the technology was fairly primitive, and little could be seen, said Jonathan Elias, director of the Akhmim Mummy Studies Consortium, a Pennsylvania-based organization that has collected imaging data on about 30 mummies and offered to help the Virginia museum analyze its information.

"We're really at the beginning of the process, even with modern technology, to unravel what's gone on in this culture," Elias said. "Compared with 1986, 2013 is just like going to another planet in terms of what we're now able to do."

On Friday, museum employees removed the mummy, wrapped in preservation material, from his coffin and used Velcro ties to secure him to a platform, readying him for the 15-minute van ride from the museum to suburban Richmond for the scan. One employee rode in the back with Tjeby as the van drove slowly, trying to avoid sudden bumps or movements.

When he arrived at HCA's Independence Park Imaging Center, Tjeby was carefully rolled in on a gurney, placed on a sliding table head-first and uncovered, revealing aged, brown-tinted cloth wrapping. A group of technicians, doctors and museum employees began snapping photos to personally document the occasion.

Then, with the click of a button, an automated voice urged the patient to lie still and not breathe for the CT scan.
"He's the ideal patient," joked Peter Schertz, curator of ancient art at the museum. "If he only stopped fidgeting."

Within seconds, thousands of images began to flash on the computer monitors.

"He's like a jigsaw puzzle," said Dr. Jim Snyder, a diagnostic radiologist who assisted the museum with the scan.

Immediately apparent to the group was that some of Tjeby's bones had fallen or moved into the mummy's chest cavity at some point in his history — likely after he had been mummified. Doctors and the museum staff noted that the main portion of his body was wrapped separately from the limbs and other parts of the body were a bit "jumbled."

A more in-depth examination of the images will take some time, but Snyder was able to do a quick 3-D rendering, giving Tjeby his first close-up in more than 4,000 years. Museum officials did not provide a timeline on the rest of the process, but were excited about the prospects.

"It's amazing that we are able to do this," Schertz said. "This is history."


http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent ... -scan.aspx


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Re: US museum unwrapping mummy's story with CT scan

Post by Horus » Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:18 pm

I think it is fantastic what they can now do with the CT scans and facial reconstruction from the skull.
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Re: US museum unwrapping mummy's story with CT scan

Post by Winged Isis » Tue Feb 05, 2013 7:35 pm

Doing a facial approximation as they are called by the professionals, is great fun. I did a one-day course in December. Interestingly, the skull we were all working on (multiple plastic reproductions) was of an Egyptian male!

Our lecturer, Susan Hayes, did the "Hobbit":
http://www.westcoastcommunity.com.au
blogs.abc.net.au/.../08/...skull-meet-susan-hayes-forensic-artist.html
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Re: US museum unwrapping mummy's story with CT scan

Post by Horus » Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:54 pm

We are fortunate to have in the UK one of the worlds most eminent facial reconstruction specialists, that being professor Caroline Wilkinson who has done many Egyptian facial reconstructions, her latest project is the face of the recently excavated skeleton of Richard III which was used in a documentary programme shown on TV last night.
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Re: US museum unwrapping mummy's story with CT scan

Post by Winged Isis » Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:06 am

Isn't she the one that took over from Richard Neave, both on "Meet the Ancestors"?
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Re: US museum unwrapping mummy's story with CT scan

Post by Horus » Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:32 am

Yes she seems to be the chosen expert on most programmes on the TV that I have seen, she used to do all the old fashioned stuff with modelling clay and sticking the reference pegs to various locations and adding all the muscles and skin. The last programme about Richard III she was using one of those new fangled PC programmes that allows for pressure and touch controlled facial reconstruction using a stylus arm.
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Re: US museum unwrapping mummy's story with CT scan

Post by Kiya » Wed Feb 06, 2013 6:57 pm

I've watched her many times its so facinating to see a face come from a scull.

Is it just me ? but when I look at the reconstruction of Richard III he looks though he is looking down, would have better if looking straight ahead.

Did any of you watch the reconstruction of Rabbie Burns the other week, his was done from part only of his scull, amazing! & really weather beaten as farmers are.

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Re: US museum unwrapping mummy's story with CT scan

Post by Winged Isis » Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:20 pm

Our lecturer, Susan Hayes prefers using computers to clay which she only uses with students.

The experts are amazingly accurate, as described in Richard Neave's book. One expert was given a skull created by scanning the head of another expert (he was to meet him at a conference a few months later; he had never seen the other) and creating a plastic reproduction. Once the first expert had finished the approximation, he attended the conference and while in the canteen, noticed a man who looked very familiar, but couldn't remember who he was. It was, of course the "face" he'd made. The photos of the "result" and the man are as if they were almost identical twins! So I put great faith in anything they do with an ancient "celebrity". :up
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Re: US museum unwrapping mummy's story with CT scan

Post by Horus » Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:09 pm

That is a very interesting little enecdote WI, one problem I have always had has been "yes but its only your interpretation of it".
I have often said to Mrs H during one of those reconstructions that I would like to see them do one from a skull where an actual photograph existed of the person when they were alive, so you have answered that one for me.

Kiya I didn't see the Burns one I must have missed it, but will watch out for a repeat.
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Re: US museum unwrapping mummy's story with CT scan

Post by Winged Isis » Thu Feb 07, 2013 8:14 am

Me too, H. I suppose it has to take into account the varying levels of expertise of the individuals, but I think that anecdote was pretty supportive. It appears at the end of the book. Neave's book is old (he's retired now), but good: "Making Faces". The term facial approximation is probably more accurate and with deeper meaning than reconstruction. If you ever hear of a course, I can highly recommend doing it. It was fascinating, easier than expected and good therapy (as hands-on creative stuff usually is). No experience or artistic skills were required. I had none of the former and still have few of the latter. The second day was to be sketching using an outline, but unfortunately I couldn't attend.
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Re: US museum unwrapping mummy's story with CT scan

Post by Kiya » Thu Feb 07, 2013 9:01 am


phpBB [video]


I've forgot how to add a link from youtube but I'm sure Horus you can fix it, the video is near 8 mins but you can skip right to the end to see oor Rabbie's reconstruction.

Horus not sure if it would be shown in your area, here it was shown on 22/1/13 just before RB birthday on STV.

Edit: Sorted for you Kiya :up Just click the 'Video' link at the top and insert your link (which was correct) btween the two sets of brackets that get inserted [Video][/Video], so you would paste your link in [Video]HERE[/Video]. :up

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Re: US museum unwrapping mummy's story with CT scan

Post by Horus » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:31 am

Great video Kiya and I liked the way people were drinking whisky, my idea of a reconstruction night. ;) The only problem was when Alex Salmond popped up and I had to switch him off (only joking) :urm: :lol: :lol:
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Re: US museum unwrapping mummy's story with CT scan

Post by Kiya » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:59 am

Thank you Horus, I hope sometime you'll be able to see the whole program, fancinating the telling of Rabbies' life.

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Re: US museum unwrapping mummy's story with CT scan

Post by Horus » Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:29 pm

Well you know what they say about "oor Rabbie", if he had owned a bicycle we would all be realated! ;) :lol: :lol:
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Re: US museum unwrapping mummy's story with CT scan

Post by Kiya » Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:22 pm

:lol: :lol:

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