Standard of Mummification in Graeco-Roman Child Mummies

Janet Davey, Paul Bowyer, Andrew P. Giże, Craig Hagenmaier, David Leo Ranson, Shelley D. Robertson, Olaf H. Drummer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Modern medical and scientific technology allows for the almost non-invasive study of ancient Egyptian mummified remains. Computerized Tomography (CT) scanning and Environmental Scanning Electron Microscopy (ESEM) were conducted on three mummies to determine the standard of mummification, with particular reference to Herodotus’ account of ancient Egyptian embalming practices and the current condition of the mummified tissue. Three unwrapped British Museum Graeco/Roman child mummies were CT scanned on a Toshiba Aquilion 64 multi-detector CT scanner. ESEM was employed to observe the topography of the preserved tissue and any biogenic processes present. The extent to which the biogenic process is associated with preservation of bodies was investigated. The CT scans showed no evidence of evisceration or brain removal. The reason for partial mummification is under review, but may indicate that mummification practices had evolved or changed in the Graeco/Roman Period subsequent to that reported by Herodotus. The CT scan images also showed abnormalities in the skull of one specimen and unexplained dental observations. The ESEM investigation indicated extensive fungal hyphae present on mummified tissue and evidence of residual salt; possibly used to prevent putrefaction of the body.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationYearbook of Mummy Studies
EditorsHeather Gill-Frerking, Wilfried Rosendahl
PublisherVerlag Dr. Friedrich Pfeil
ISBN (Print)978-3-89937-163-5
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014

Publication series

NameYearbook of Mummy Studies


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