US Museum Unwrapping Mummy’s Story With CT Scan


“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.”

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.”

<< previous 1 2

Posted by on Mar 1st, 2013 and filed under Techline. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed