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NEWS: Vatican mummy health check: It’s never too late for an endoscopy

20130122-225800.jpgCinzia Oliva, a textile restorer from Turin, Italy, who specializes in mummy wrappings, puts the finishing touches on restoring the mummy Ny-Maat-Re in the Vatican Museums’ collections in this undated photo (Source: Catholic Register).

“Experts have just concluded a two-year study on the seven adult mummies in the Vatican Museums’ collections.

The mummies underwent a full battery of X-rays, CT scans, endoscopic explorations, histological exams and a whole spectrum of genetic testing, leading one researcher to joke: “These mummies have gotten more medical attention now than when they were alive.”

In fact, scientists can now make the kind of diagnoses ancient Egyptian doctors were probably unable to divine.

The scientific advancements in genetics, imaging technology and nano research also have brought new and unexpected discoveries with minimally and non-invasive techniques — a far cry from the “unwrapping” autopsies of the 19th century.

For one thing, the mummy Ny-Maat-Re, “who we always referred to as ‘she,’ is in fact actually a man,” said Alessia Amenta, Egyptologist and curator of the Vatican Museums’ Department for the Antiquities of Egypt and the Near East.

The hieroglyphics on the mummy’s three-dimensional painted coverings made of plaster and linen bandages — called cartonnage — had identified it as “the daughter of Sema-Tawi.” But 3-D CT scan results from early January showed the never-unwrapped mummy is clearly male, Amenta said” – via Catholic Register.

Read more here.

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