The CT scans unravelling the secrets of a mummy coffin from a Cambridge museum

The secrets of ancient Egyptian carpentry hidden from sight for thousands of years have been laid bare once more – thanks to modern hospital equipment.

Egyptologists from Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum took an ancient mummy coffin to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, for a consultant radiologist to scan.

The coffin, dating back to about 1000 BC, belonged to Nespawershefyt – a high-ranking official who was said to have worked at the temple of Karnak in ancient Thebes.

The CT scans were done out of hours, on a Sunday morning when the scanner would not normally be in use – though museum staff said they would have given priority to any medical emergency coming in.

The mummy board has been X-rayed before before but its construction wasn’t clear. Credit: Fitzwilliam Museum

Experts said the scans seemed to show some interesting carpentry in the area of the face that had not been visible on earlier X-radiographs.

The Egyptologists are eagerly awaiting to see what the detailed examination of the scans will show up about how the ancient coffin was put together.

The technique is often used by Egyptologists looking for insight without damaging their precious artefacts – in 2021 the mummy of the pharoah Amenhotep I was digitally “unwrapped” with high-tech scanners.

Not a sight you see every day.. Credit: ITV News Anglia

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