This Is What An Ancient Egyptian Woman Looked Like

Jennifer Mann/Paul Burston/University of Melbourne

Using the latest technology and hours of work, a multi-disciplinary ensemble of researchers has recently “brought back to life” the face of an Egyptian mummy.

The woman, who they have named Meritamun, is believed to have died between the ages of 18 and 25, at least 2,000 years ago in ancient Egypt. Her remains were only brought to attention after her mummified head was discovered in the somewhat undignified resting place of the dusty basement of the University of Melbourne’s medical building. It’s believed the head made its way to Australia through Professor Frederic Wood Jones, an anatomy expert at the university who was part of archaeological work in Egypt during the 1930s.

The story of this young woman is almost a total mystery. However, through this reconstruction, they’ve managed to piece together some of her 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,” Dr Janet Davey, a forensic Egyptologist from Monash University in Australia, said in a statement.


The 3D printed skull, created using data from the CT scan. The University of Melbourne/YouTube

The project started by conducting CT scans on the still-bandaged skull. This work revealed the skull was in surprisingly good condition. It also revealed that the woman was suffering from two deep tooth abscesses and a thinning, pitted skull. This is a sure sign she had anemia, as the bone marrow swells in a bid to make more red blood cells, which then thins the bone. Since she was from Egypt, the researchers believe this could have been caused by malaria or the flatworm infection schistosomiasis.

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