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Home > teachers > Ancient Civilisations  > Ashmolean Museum's Child Mummy Scanned
 

Ashmolean Museum's Child Mummy Scanned

Scientists from Oxford University have scanned the 2000-year old Egyptian mummy of a child, from Oxford's Ashmolean Museum.

The mummy has been scanned at an Oxford hospital, using a modern machine known as a CT scanner.


Using a CT scanner meant that the mummy did not have to have its bandages unwrapped, because the scanner can 'see' through them to what's hidden beneath.

Here's the amazing image created from the CT scan.

© University of Oxford


The images produced by the CT scanner have revealed that the mummy is of a boy. He was between four and seven years old, about 90cm tall and was losing his milk teeth. He was mummified in the traditional Egyptian way, wrapped in linen bandages.

A CT scanner takes lots of 2D x-ray images of an object (usually part or all of a hospital patient's body) which can then be used to build a 3D image of it.

'CT' stands for computed tomography. The word 'tomography' comes from from the Greek work 'tomos', which means 'slice', and 'graphia', which means 'describing'.


'Slices' of images are taken from the feet upwards - can you see the first foot emerging?

The pale grey mass all around the foot is layers and layers of bandages. The 'strip' across the bottom is the bed of the scanner, which the mummy was laid on.

© University of Oxford


The little boy lived in Egypt about 1,900 years ago, during the time when the Romans ruled Egypt. He was one of many children buried in a huge cemetery (graveyard) in a place called Hawara. A Victorian archaeologist called Flinders Petrie excavated the site in 1888-89.

More research will be done into how healthy the boy was and how he died. It's hoped this will help us to know more about what life was like in Egypt when he was alive.

The mummy is also going be part of an art project. Artist Angela Palmer engraves images of body scans onto glass. She will engrave the mummy's body scans onto sheets of glass and then put them together to make a 3D artwork.

Many museums around the UK have a mummy in their collection which you can go and see. To find out if there's one near you, check out our guide, Show Me The Mummies... In UK Museums.

You can also find out more about Ancient Egypt on Show Me's Ancient Civilisations topic page.

Here are just a few of the cool games and makes you'll find there:


How much do you know about mummies?

Test your brain power in The Egyptian Mummy Game, from Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery.

Cartoon-style drawing of a Ancient Egyptian mummy.


Have fun with hieroglyphs and make your own scroll on this great page from the Metropolitan Museum of New York's website.


Don't miss Journey Into The Mummy - an amazing online tour of a mummy, from The British Museum.

Scientists have used hi-tech virtual reality to show you inside the coffin, under the bandages and even inside the body of a 3000-year old Egyptian mummy called Nesperennub.


Don't forget, if you see a mummy in a museum, we'd love to hear about it, so Get In Touch!

Kristen Bailey