The use of Computer Imaging to Examine Mummies without Unwrapping them

When studying history by analyzing artifacts, one of the key terms that must be kept in mind is preservation, and this is a paramount concern when the artifact in question is several thousand years old. This is especially true when it comes to analyzing a mummy that is around 4,000 years old named Tjeby. Gone are the days when archaeologists would unwrap a mummy in order to discover its hidden secrets, and such is the case with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts mummy named Tjeby who just underwent a series of CT scans with the hopes of learning more about the ancient Egyptian mummy.

CT scanning is also referred to as a CAT scan and is one of the most effective ways of analyzing the internal components of a body, living or deceased, in a noninvasive fashion. Physicians use CT scans to diagnose a variety of illnesses, and it is extremely effective in discovering the cause of health problems as well as aiding physicians in treating potential problems before they become life-threatening. There is a great deal of information that can be attained through the use of a CT scan and archaeologists working with the latest mummy undergoing this type of testing, Tjeby, are hopeful that the test will yield crucial information regarding his life and inevitable fate while he was still a living man in ancient Egypt.

CT scanning works by taking a series of high-resolution scans that basically divide the body into layered images. These images are then compiled to create a 3D representation of what the internal structure of the body looks like. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts originally acquired Tjeby in 1953, and this is the most comprehensive testing that has been done on the mummy. Past testing has helped the archeological team to recreate the bone structure of the mummy, which in turn has provided them with a basic understanding of the mummy’s bone structure and what he looked like while he was still alive.

This isn’t the first time that CT scanning has been used to discover information about a mummy and, in fact, the practice is becoming more and more popular as scientists work to unravel the mysteries of Egypt’s mummies without literally having to unravel them. At North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York, CAT scans were used to determine not only the appearance of a mummy named Lady Gautseshenu, but also her cause of death and her age at the time of death. Digital imaging has now become an important archeological tool  that can not only provide a wealth of information about a mummy and how that particular person met their fate, but also satisfies the need for preservation so that future generations can also study the mummy without causing damage to the body.