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Here’s What Three Mummies Might Have Looked Like While Alive

For the first time in over 2,000 years, these three mummies' faces now stare back at viewers, much as they might have appeared just before their deaths

smithsonian.com

The mummy faces. Photo: McGill University

As gruesome as they are to look at today, mummies were once animated individuals. It can be hard to keep that point in mind, however, when staring down at a shriveled, two-millennia-old corpse.

To bring three of McGill University’s mummies back to life, so to speak, a forensic artist and physical anthropologists teamed up for a facial reconstruction project.  The three-dimensional mummy portraits will be on display at the university’s Redpath Museum until February.

To figure out the nuances of the mummies’ flesh, the team used CT scans, radiocarbon analysis and 3-D printing technology to envision and manufacture the faces. Tissue depth data taken from ultrasonic imaging of modern Egyptians also helped to flesh out the faces. The artists went with a diversity of skin tones to reflect the mix of Mediterranean, North African and Sub-Saharan people that occupied Egypt throughout history. For the hairstyles, they relied upon early anthropological reports and from remnants left on the mummies themselves.

Their efforts resulted in three mummy faces: a young man, a young woman and a white-haired matron. For the first time in over 2,000 years, their faces now stare back at viewers, much as they might have appeared just before their deaths.

For a closer look at the mummies, check out this slideshow from Discover News.

More from Smithsonian.com:

CT Scanners Crack Open a Mummy Mystery
Even Mummy Doctors Forgot Tools in Their Patients Sometimes 

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