The study of this rare archaeological object is part of an interdisciplinary clbad at Northwestern focused, in part, on completing the story contextual where this mummy came from and who she was, the university said in a statement this week.
Thirteen students of materials and humanities sciences are examining the materials and methods used to create this intact portrait mummy for an upcoming exhibit at the Northwestern Block Art Museum.
Scientists do not yet fully know how their body was prepared 1,900 years ago in Egypt, with what objects it may have been buried, the quality of its bones and what material is present in its brain cavity.
As part of an exhaustive scientific investigation, the mummy was taken to the Argonne National Laboratory in the USA. UU Earlier this week to perform the first X-ray scattering experiment of its kind.
"This is a unique experiment, a three-dimensional puzzle," said Stuart Stock of the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, who led the experiment.
"We have some preliminary findings on the various materials, but it will take days before adjusting the precise answers to our questions, we have confirmed that the fragments in the brain cavity are likely to be solidified, not in a crystalline material," Stock added .
The Roman-Egyptian mummy, who resides at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary on the Northwestern Evanston campus, is one of approximately 100 portrait mummies in the world.
These mummies have an extremely realistic painting of the deceased person incorporated in the wrappings of the mummy and placed directly on the face of the person, a style introduced by the Romans.
With little more than a meter in length, the body of the girl is wrapped in a large amount of clothes. The outermost wrappings have been arranged in a geometric pattern adorned with overlapping rhombuses and also serve to frame the portrait.
The face, painted with beeswax and pigment, looks serenely outward, its dark hair gathered at the back. She is wearing a crimson robe and gold jewelry.
"Intact portrait mummies are extremely rare, and having one here on campus was revealing for the clbad and the exhibition," said Marc Walton of the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern.
Walton teaches the fall trimester clbad with Taco Terpstra, Assistant Professor of Clbadics and History at the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.
Before his trip to Argonne, the mummy had a CT scan at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in August.
The scan provided the researchers with a three-dimensional map of the structure of the mummy and allowed them to confirm that the girl is approximately 5 years old.
The findings of the X-ray, computerized tomography and other scientific badyzes and history studies conducted by the students are expected to help researchers and historians better understand the context in which the mummy was excavated in 1911 and also in Rome. the mummification practices of the period.
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