They wanted to live forever.
And in a way, that is what they have achieved.
Scans carries out on eight of the museum’s 120 mummies have revealed amazing details about the people inside the caskets and offered valuable insight into the embalming and burial process – all without disturbing the bodies.
We now know more about who these people were, how they lived and how they died. Never before has mummy hair, muscle and bone been seen in such detail.
“We’re using the best CT (computerised tomography) scanners available, we’re also using the best software to convert the thousands of slices which are captured during the CT scanning and transform them into what we call visualisations, which is basically a 3D representation of what the scan data is telling us,” explained exhibition curator Daniel Antoine.
Researchers probed the mummies layer by layer to build up a high-definition 3D picture of each one.
Once digitised, British Museum staff were then able to virtually peel away each layer, to see the face of the person underneath the bandages. They were even able to guess the age of the individual mummies from analysing their pelvis and their teeth.
“By looking inside the bodies, looking under the wrappings, we can find out what these people looked like, how old they were when they died, what kind of illnesses they suffered from. And we can also find out how these bodies have been preserved and what were the mummification techniques that were used to preserve them,” said co-curator, John Taylor.
‘Ancient Lives, New Discoveries’ runs at The British Museum in London until November.