Once upon a time, say back in the height of the early days of the British Museum, many of the new things we learned from mummies came out during the “unwrapping parties” — unwrapping the mummies to uncover all of the smaller artifacts and then, eventually, the person inside. The smaller items became the large rooms full of tiny figurines and vessels and jewelry, with the mummy itself featured somewhere in the middle. The problem was, the mummy and coffins, preserved for so long, rapidly began to decay after this treatment.
Well, the Images of the Afterlife show at the Field Museum took a very different approach to both “unwrapping” the mummy and providing access to the contents of the coffins. The coffins weren’t opened at all, but instead subjected to extensive medical scanning to create CT scans of every aspect of the contents. Then, with the data intact, it was possible to produce incredible 3D printed replicas not only of the contents of the coffins, but even to make use of the archaeologists research tools to “reverse” the mummification and produce plausibly accurate representations of what the people themselves would have looked like. And in the case of these Egyptian monarchs in particular, with the tendency to pretty aggressive body modification during life, the results are pretty striking.
Two ancient Egyptian mummies from Field Museum collections will come face-to-face with the public like never before in Images of the Afterlife. Recent CT scans and the latest 3D imaging revealed the mummies’ age-old secrets to Museum scientists, and enabled an artist to create hyper-realistic sculptures portraying how these two individuals looked in life, thousands of years ago. Now no longer merely mummies #30007 and #11517, you’ll be able to envision the mummified remains as real persons—a woman in her forties with curly hair and a teenage boy named Minirdis. Peer inside coffins and wrappings of ancient Egyptian mummies….