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Egyptian Mummy Portrait Compared to Facial Reconstruction

Monday, September 21, 2020

Egypt Child MummyMUNICH, GERMANY—Live Science reports that a team of scientists created a 3-D image of the body of a child who died in Egypt sometime between 50 B.C. and A.D. 100 with CT scans and X-rays, and then compared the likeness with his mummy portrait. Examination of his teeth indicate the child was between the ages of three and four at the time of death. Andreas Nerlich of the Academic Clinic Munich-Bogenhausen said the resulting facial reconstruction is very similar to the ancient painting, although the child appears to be a bit older in his portrait. The likeness may have been painted shortly before or after his death, Nerlich surmised. The scan also revealed residues of condensed lung tissue indicating that the boy likely died of pneumonia, and that his brain and some of his abdominal organs had been removed during the process of mummification. Similar studies of mummies of adults found that an older man’s mummy portrait portrayed him when he was young, and another mummy had been given the wrong portrait altogether, based upon the proportions of his skull. Read the original scholarly article about this research in PLOS ONE. To read about using DNA samples from mummies to determine family bonds, go to "We Are Family."

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