The Egyptian  Mummy – Ancient Craft; Modern Science
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Talk by Dr Robert Loynes, a retired Orthopaedic Surgeon who obtained a PhD in Egyptology from the University of Manchester in 2014 with a thesis on the use of CT scans to investigate mummification techniques of ancient Egyptian mummies


The Egyptian mummy has, for centuries, been a source of fascination.  This was often driven by the association with magical properties and the occult.  From the nineteenth century, archaeologists and Egyptologists commenced a more scientific and structured approach to the investigation of these human mummies.  Unfortunately, until the advent of medical imaging in the closing years of the nineteenth century, the only method of investigation and analysis was to subject the mummies to dissection.  This had the obvious disadvantage of resulting in complete destruction of these precious and unique artifacts.

In the era of the twenty-first century we have the advantage of using advanced medical imaging techniques – CT scans – to perform virtual autopsies – “virtopsies”.  This enables the analysis of anatomical abnormalities and the ability to attribute them (in most cases) to disease, damage or the mummification/embalming process.  Analysis of another part of the process of mummification – wrapping – can help to identify unexpected features.

This presentation will cover our current knowledge of the motivation of the ancient Egyptians to preserve their dead, various aspects of current mummy research including some related to mummies (approximately 100) in museums across Europe and the USA, together with a brief explanation – a primer – of the science behind medical imaging.


Part of our Evening Talks Programme. Evening talks are for members of The Atkinson Development Trust, non-members are welcome for a fee of £5 on the door. If you are interested in becoming a member of The Atkinson’s Development Trust, please click here.

 

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