VMFA curators examine mummified remains with CT technology Latest news

By LYNDON GERMAN Richmond Times-Dispatch

With a combination of X-rays and computer images, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has uncovered the remains of two ancient mummies on loan at the museum’s ancient art exhibition.

VMFA members met on Friday with HCA Virginia health officials at Independence Park Imaging, where medical professionals conducted a non-invasive scan to create a digital model of the partially preserved interior.

Chris Green, director of imaging for the facility, said the experience was certainly different from his day-to-day responsibilities for MRI and X-rays.

“It’s completely out of the norm for us,” Green said. “When the VMFA contacted us to help with their research, we definitely took the opportunity.

Green and his staff helped curators examine two artifacts donated to the museum by a collector.

VMFA received two small packages of mummies from the collection. One of the bundles was shaped like a falcon, while the other showed a more human image, said Pete Schertz, curator of the Museum of Ancient Art.

People also read …

“One of the animal mummies is a falcon mummy with a human face. The second mummy is also in the shape of a falcon, but there are also no visible animal remains, “Scherz said. “There are different types of materials in the interior, as far as we can tell.”

A CT scan revealed that both mummies were actually made for animals, although they are not sure if the bones are still intact.

Scherz said it was common in ancient Egyptian culture to mummify animals for sentimental and religious reasons.

Although curators are at the beginning of the identification process, Schertz said he believes the mummies originated sometime between late Egypt between 664 and 332 BC.

He said he hoped a CT scan would help recreate clearer images of the inside of these mummies and possibly even identify some of the materials used to make the mummies.

“This information will be included in our box installation label, which will focus on laboratory archeology,” Scherz said.

Laboratory archeology is the science that helps make sense of ancient artifacts after they have been excavated, Scherz said.

The VMFA used this method in 2011 when it used a facial reconstruction of one of its own mummies, Tjeby.

One of the purposes of the display is to show viewers how the principles of STEM training extend to their work.

Scherz said the museum has made concerted efforts to highlight the intersection of art and science.

“It’s important when we look at art, to look at it from multiple lenses,” Scherz said. “With science, we can uncover a lot of history that we may not have known in advance.

Scherz said he hopes to have a pair of 3D models of artifacts for educational purposes when the mummies are on display later in July, when they join the VMFA’s extensive collection of ancient art.

[email protected]

(804) 649-6340

Twitter: @Lyndon_

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.