Application of Clinical Imaging and 3D Printing to the Identification of Anomalies in an Ancient Egyptian Animal Mummy

Lidija Mcknight, Judith Adams, Andrew Chamberlain, Stephanie Woolham, Richard Bibb

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Non-destructive assessment of wrapped mummified animal remains from ancient Egypt using imaging techniques is the most ethically viable manner by which to investigate bundle contents. Bundles studied to date revealed complete and incomplete animal skeletons, multiple individuals (or parts thereof) wrapped together in one bundle, non-skeletal material, organic matter and anomalies of unknown origin. The identification of animal species using imaging alone can be fraught with difficulty, especially in cases in which the skeleton is incomplete and diagnostic elements are lost or significantly damaged. This paper describes the radiographic investigation of a mummy bundle wrapped in the form of a canid, a species closely associated with ancient Egyptian embalming deities. Computed tomography (CT) was performed, and the bundle contents were computer modelled, leading to the production of a laser sintered 3D replica. Imaging identified three skeletal fragments carefully positioned to act as structural support for the bundle; however, radiographic data proved inadequate to enable definitive identification of these elements. 3D printing enabled direct comparison with skeletal reference collections and confirmed that the bones were of human origin. This paper demonstrates that imaging of wrapped animal mummy bundles and 3D printing of unidentified elements or non-skeletal anomalies will assist in their accurate identification in a non-destructive manner.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)328-332
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
Early online date29 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2015


  • Radiography
  • Computed tomography
  • Animal mummy
  • 3D printing
  • Egtypt


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