The weird and the wonderful – The scientific study of a miniature mummy

Lidija M. McKnight, Natalie C. McCreesh, Andrew Gize

Abstract


A human-faced oddity purported to be a ‘human baby, animal mummy or fake’ constructed in an ancient Egyptian style, was analysed at the KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology, University of Manchester, UK. Radiographic analysis using conventional radiography (X-ray) and computed tomography (CT) highlighted the nature of the bundle contents and identified marked similarities to mummified animal remains from ancient Egypt. Small samples were analysed using microscopy, environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM) and energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS). ESEM was used to assess the homogeneity of the sample and the materials used in its construction. EDS was conducted for analysis of the elemental composition.

Comparatively few miniature mummies of this type are known and they represent an intriguing area of mummy studies. The results of this research have allowed comparisons with contemporary human and animal mummies to be made.

Based on residues of tin plating found on the underside of the mask, it is possible that this feature is a recent addition. Further analysis of the materials used in the construction of the artefact is required to ascertain if the mask is a contemporary feature.


Keywords


mummy; pseudo; radiography; ESEM; EDS

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.12697/poa.2014.23.1.08

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ISSN 1406-0140 (print)
ISSN 1736-7646 (online)
Journal DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12697/issn1406-0140