Mummies Get CT Scans at WUSTL

A CT scan showing the head and neck of the mummy of Henut-Wedjebu. Photo by Robert J. Boston.

Researchers hope scans reveal new information about the three mummies

Posted by October 14, 2014

Three Egyptian mummies recently journeyed from their home at the Saint Louis Art Museum to the campus of WUSTL's School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital to be examined in a state-of-the-art computerized tomography (CT) scanner.

CT scans—sometimes referred to as CAT scans—use special equipment that emits a narrow X-ray beam to obtain images from different angles around the body and head. The researchers and museum staff are hoping the scans will teach them more about the three and the societies in which they lived.

Two of the mummies—Pet-Menekh and Henut-Wedjebu—are owned by the Kemper Art Museum but are on long term loan to SLAM. Pet-Menekh, a male priest, is believed to have lived during the 4th or 3rd century B.C. Henut-Wedjebu, an upper-class woman from the 14th century B.C., was buried with her brain still in her skull, which is not the case with the other two mummies.

Amen-Nestawy-Nakht, the third mummy, is owned by SLAM. Also a male priest, he is believed to have lived in the 9th or 10th century B.C.

Full results of the scans are not anticipated until December. Museum personnel involved with the project include Karen K. Butler, associate curator at the Kemper Art Museum, and Lisa Çakmak, assistant curator of ancient art at SLAM.

The WUSTL investigational team includes: Sanjeev Bhalla, MD, professor of radiology and chief of cardiothoracic imaging; Pamela Woodard, MD, professor of radiology and director of the Center for Clinical Imaging Research; Vincent Mellnick, MD, assistant professor of radiology; and Michelle Miller-Thomas, MD, assistant professor of radiology.

Additional Coverage

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Mummies Get a Closer Look at Barnes-Jewish>>
KSDK5: Mummies Get CAT Scan at WashU>>