In recent years, British Museum curators have collaborated with scientists and medical experts to find new ways of studying ancient Egyptian mummies. Ever-developing, non-invasive scanning techniques have produced astonishing results, allowing us to understand more clearly how people lived and died in the ancient Nile Valley. Piecing together key biographical data and information, it has been possible for the first time to discover more about who these people were in ancient Egyptian society, their status and beliefs. Eight significant mummies are 'explored', each carefully selected to tell a different story. They include a young female temple singer, an unknown man of high status, and a child from the Roman era. For each of the mummies featured, a personal profile is built up, leading on to an investigation of a particular aspect of life or death in the ancient society to which they belonged. Diet, disease, personal adornment and childhood are just some of the themes covered and help to remind us that all the mummies were once living people. CT scans have revealed a wealth of information, such as the health problems that the individual must have suffered during life, age at death and sometimes cause of death, the manner of mummification and on occasion irregularities in the process. Illustrated throughout with astonishing CT images (segments and 3D models), the book reveals each stage of the virtual unwrapping. As each layer is removed, the reader is able to observe the bandages, skin, muscles, skeleton and internal organs, as well as any objects placed inside the mummies. Technology is transforming our understanding of these past inhabitants of the Nile valley, refining previous interpretations and providing answers to long-held questions. In some cases, we have at last been able to 'see' the person behind the mask.Funerary objects are also highlighted for context: for example, non-invasive imaging of the contents of canopic jars; analyses of embalming substances, and identification of wood species and pigment types used in coffins. The majority of the material is drawn from the British Museum's extensive Egypt and Sudan collections. With over 200 specially commissioned photographs, Ancient Lives, new discoveries sets out to shine a new light on the past.
||: John H. Taylor
||: British Museum Publications Limited
||: 192 Pages