A 3,500-Year-Old Egyptian Pharaoh's Mummy Was Just Unwrapped
For the first time in centuries, three-dimensional CT scanning was used to unlock the mysteries of Egyptian Pharaoh Amenhotep I's perfectly preserved mummy. The research was reported in Frontiers in Medicine.
The scientists were unwilling to spoil the well-preserved mummy by revealing the Pharaoh's body, despite the fact that the 3,500-year-old mummy had been discovered much earlier than its digital unwrapping.
Amenhotep I ruled Ancient Egypt alongside his mother Ahmose-Nefertari during the civilization's golden age. Both were regarded as gods by their subjects after their deaths. The Pharaoh's mummy was buried in immaculate linen wrappings decorated in flowers and a painted life-like facemask coated in colorful gems, according to legend.
Unwrapping A Centuries-old Mummy Digital
We can now peek into the mummy without interfering with the mummy's shell, owing to contemporary technology. Dr. Sahar Saleem, first author of the paper and professor of radiology at Cairo University's Faculty of Medicine. She is also the radiologist for the Egyptian Mummy Project. "This fact that Amenhotep I’s mummy had never been unwrapped in modern times gave us a unique opportunity: not just to study how he had originally been mummified and buried, but also how he had been treated and reburied twice, centuries after his death, by High Priests of Amun."
She added that "by digitally unwrapping of the mummy and ‘peeling off’ its virtual layers – the facemask, the bandages, and the mummy itself – we could study this well-preserved pharaoh in unprecedented detail," in the study.
The study provides a wealth of information regarding Amenhotep I's face features and the contents of his wrappings. The Pharaoh was 35 years old when he died, according to the findings. He was circumcised and had good teeth, standing 5 ft 6 in (1,69 cm) tall. "Within his wrappings, he wore 30 amulets and a unique golden girdle with gold beads." CT scanned imagery revealed that "Amenhotep I had a narrow chin, a small narrow nose, curly hair, and mildly protruding upper teeth."
While the cause of death of the Pharaoh is unknown, the team was surprised by the fact that Amenhotep I's brain was intact, distinguishing him from other mummies such as Tutankhamun and Ramses II.
Scientists are discovering new techniques to peer into our history and learn more about our ancestors without causing damage to antique fragile materials and structures as new technologies emerge every day.
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