Scientists from a leading laboratory in the United States are using state-of-the-art X-ray equipment to scan an Egyptian mummy that has never been unwrapped since being excavated a century ago.
The X-rays are producing a detailed three-dimensional analysis of the body and the objects hidden underneath the linen bandage.
It is also an unusual mummy, not only because the body has been preserved, but because it carries a portrait of the girl who died (above).
Researchers believe that the mummy, which belongs to the collection of Chicago’s Northwestern University, is of a 5-year-old girl who died 1,900 years ago.
The artifact is one of approximately 100 that exist in that style, mummified with the Egyptian technique and with a Roman painting showing the face of the little girl in life.
The X-ray technology is being used to discover as many details as possible without manipulating the bandages that cover it.
Marc Walton, a professor at the School of Engineering at Northwestern University, told the media the girl appeared to be in good health, with no indication she died as a result of a concussion. He suspects she most likely died of malaria or measles at a time when half of the children died before the age of 10.
The mummy was unearthed in 1911 by the English archaeologist William Flinders Petrie, in Hawara, Egypt – a major archeological site located about 100 km southwest of Cairo – and moved to Chicago soon after.
Unlike many other mummies, her bandages were never removed.
Scientists want to examine the bones, teeth and an object that is inside the skull (in green, shown above), which is assumed to have been inserted after the brain was removed during the mummification process.
The unknown object may be resin that remained after the embalming and has settled in the back of the skull.
Photos source: Northwestern University