– Meritamun is the name of a woman who lived in Egypt about 2,000 years ago. Now, in order to learn more the face of this ancient female Egyptian mummy has been reconstructed with the help of 3D printing and forensic science techniques.
A face reconstruction gives us not only an idea of what Meritamun looked like in real life, but it also reveals vital information about her health
A group of scientists at Melbourne University, combined medical research, forensic science, computerized tomographic (CT) scanning, 3D printing, Egyptology and art in order to reconstruct the face of Meritamun.
It all started when Dr Ryan Jefferies, curator at the University’s Harry Brookes Allen Museum of Anatomy and Pathology, stumbled across the skull of the mummy, which had been forgotten for decades. How it became a part of the Museum’s collection remains a mystery.
Jefferies was concerned the remains could be decaying from the inside, but with no way to verify this first-hand, he ordered CT scans to be carried out.
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The 2,000-years-old mummy, a woman around the age of 25-years-old, was given the name of Meritamun – the “beloved of the god Amun”. She underwent the scans at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, which revealed that the skull was still in extremely good condition.
“We were able to see that Meritamun has abscesses all around the teeth and gum. This would have caused her a lot of pain and may have impacted her overall health”, forensic Egyptologist Dr Janet Davey, from the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, explained.
She also notes that the mummy’s eyes sockets had been filled with artificial eyes, a common practice of ancient embalmers to make sure the person looked in death as closely as possible to what he or she looked like in life.
Although the face may only be an approximation of what Meritamun looked like, the multidisciplinary method and the fact Mann has obtained good results in the past when reconstructing the faces of unidentified victims suggests we now have a good idea of the mummy’s appearance in life.
“By reconstructing her we are giving back some of her identity, and in return she has given this group of diverse researchers a wonderful opportunity to investigate and push the boundaries of knowledge and technology as far as we can go”, Davey concluded.