The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Friday, August 1, 2014


Ground-breaking technology allows a virtual autopsy to be undertaken on one of British Museum's mummies
The virtual autopsy table reveals the skeleton of Gebelein Man. Photo: Kristofer Jannson.
LONDON.- One of the key attractions in the Early Egypt gallery (Gallery 64) at the British Museum is the body of a man who was buried in about 3500 BC at the site of Gebelein in Upper Egypt. Known as Gebelein Man, he was wrapped in linen and matting, and was placed in a crouched position in a shallow grave. Direct contact with the hot dry sand naturally dried and mummified his remains. In ancient times chance discoveries of such well-preserved bodies may have promoted the belief that physical preservation was necessary for the afterlife, leading the later Egyptians to develop the practice of artificial mummification.

Discovered in 1896, this mummy is one of the best preserved individuals known from Ancient Egypt, but about whom we actually knew very little. Although he has been in the British Museum’s collections for over 100 years (acquired in 1900), it was not until 2012 that he was CT scanned for the first time at the Bupa Cromwell Hospital. Detailed images were created from the CT scans’ high resolution X-rays, allowing us to look inside his body, and examine his muscle, bones, teeth and internal organs in ways never before possible revealing long hidden secrets.

A virtual autopsy table, a new state-of-the-art interactive tool based on medical visualisation, is being trialled in Gallery 64 for a limited time (16 November to 16 December) and will let visitors explore this natural mummy for themselves and learn how we have only now been able to discover his age and determine the surprising way that he died. Using the interactive touchscreen and the gesture based interface developed by the Interactive Institute and Visualization Center C in Sweden, it is possible to strip away the skin to expose his skeleton, and make virtual slices to view his internal organs and his brain, still present in the skull, organs that were often removed when the ancient Egyptians began to artificially mummify bodies. Information points at relevant locations will guide the visitor to explore the more significant discoveries.

A virtual rotation of the body shows the shape of his pelvis (hip bones), which confirms he was a male and zooming in on his leg and arm bones one can see the fusion lines that indicate he had only recently finished growing and was probably 18-21 years old when he died. Consistent with his age, his teeth, fully visible for the first time, show light wear and no dental problems.

In addition, these new scans are allowing us to visualize something more unexpected. A cut in his skin over his left shoulder blade doesn’t look like much from the outside, but the 3D visualisation of the CT scan shows that this was probably caused by a sharp pointed weapon 1.5-2cm wide that penetrated the underlying shoulder blade (scapula). Professor, MD. PhD Anders Persson of the Center for Medical Image Science and Visualization (CMIV), a Forensic Radiology expert, who also uses the virtual autopsy system for criminal and accident cases in Sweden, confirmed the British Museum’s assessment that the force of the blow was such that it also shattered the rib immediately below the shoulder blade, embedding bone fragments into his muscle tissue, and injuring the left lung and surrounding blood vessels. The absence of any signs of healing and the severity of the injuries suggest that this can be considered the cause of death.

Weapons as symbols of power and status are fairly common in the graves as this period, but evidence of violence are extremely rare. The lack of other defensive wounds suggests the injury was not a result of warfare, and that perhaps he didn’t even see it coming and could have been murdered. He has been on display for many decades, but it is only now, through the use of modern science and state-of-the-art technology that we are beginning to understand how Gebelein man lived and died.

Neal Spencer, Keeper of Ancient Egypt of Sudan said ‘‘The latest technologies allow us to learn more about life and death in ancient Egypt, but most importantly our visitors can take part in that exploration and discovery process’ .

Daniel Antoine, Curator of physical anthropology said ‘Not only have we been able to discover that Gebelein Man was young when he died but, unexpectedly, the 3D visualisation of the CT scan has confirmed that he was stabbed in the back. The analysis of ancient human remains rarely reveals the cause of death but the cut on his back, as well as the damage to the underlying shoulder blade and rib, are characteristic of a single penetrating wound. The virtual autopsy table has allowed us explore the CT scan data interactively and clearly visualise his skeleton and internal organs, something that is not always possible with other methods. The autopsy table is also letting visitors discover for themselves how we have been able to gain this information and improve our understanding of life in Predynastic Egypt’.



Today's News

November 17, 2012

Original Rubens "Mary Magdalene in mourning with her sister Martha" found in museum

National Gallery of Art acquires major works across media by Ligon, Castle, Fornari, Asselijn, Tripe, and more

Ground-breaking technology allows a virtual autopsy to be undertaken on one of British Museum's mummies

North American premiere of "Roads of Arabia" unearths hidden history of ancient Arabian peninsula

Major Smithsonian exhibition examines the impact of the Civil War on American art

The Morgan Library explores the life and work of legendary author Beatrix Potter

Museum of Modern Art hosts Meta-Monumental Garage Sale by Martha Rosler

PAFA debuts over 200 works by modern and contemporary female artists from the Linda Lee Alter Collection

James Bond villains headline new exhibit at D.C.'s International Spy Museum

William Turnbull, one of the major figures of post-war British art, died on 15 November

1933 King Kong and 1928 Mickey Mouse movie posters eye records in Heritage Auctions' event

Hans Makart's "Abundantia": The Depiction of Abundance and Fertility at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

Charlie Chaplin hat, cane and other Hollywood memorabilia to go under the hammer

Wrong Abbey Road: Station draws lost Beatles fans

Milan cathedral launches adopt-a-gargoyle campaign

Site-specific installation by Rachel Feinstein on view at Gagosian Gallery in Rome

RISD Business: Sassy signs and sculptures by Alejandro Diaz opens at the RISD Museum

Pocket watch owned by Italian chief of police who guarded the Pope offered for sale at Bonhams

ING Discerning Eye exhibition prizes announced

New York man accused of fake $11M Jasper Johns sculpture scheme

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Archaeologists discover Roman 'free choice' cemetery in the 2,700-year-old ancient port of Rome

2.- Romanians must pay 18 million euros over Kunsthal Museum Rotterdam art heist

3.- Hello Kitty designer Yuko Yamaguchi defends cute character as cat turns 40 years old

4.- eBay and Sotheby's partner to bring world class art and collectibles to a global community

5.- Exhibition on Screen returns with new series of films bringing great art to big screens across the globe

6.- Marina Abramović reaches half way point of her '512 Hours' performance at the Serpentine Gallery

7.- The Phillips Collection in Washington introduces a uCurate app for curating on-the-go

8.- United States comic icon Archie Andrews dies saving openly gay character

9.- New feathered predatory fossil, unearthed in China, sheds light on dinosaur flight

10.- Exhibition at Thyssen Bornemisza Museum presents an analysis of the concept of the 'unfinished'



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Rmz. - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site