Ancient lives new discoveries eight mummies, eight stories

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- by John H. Taylor and Daniel Antonia
"Ancient mummies have been a source of public fascination and a focus for scientific enquiry for over 200 years.  Early investigation of the bodies involved their unwrapping.  However, the advent of sophisticated imaging techniques has virtually eliminated the need to disturb their coverings.
The British Museum has used the very latest CT-scanning technology to study eight mummies from its world-famous collection, and to set them in their historical, geographical and social contexts.

The mummies, from both ancient Egypt and Sudan, have been remarkably preserved - either naturally or by the embalmer's hand. They include a priest's daughter, a temple singer, an unknown man of high status, a child from the Roman era and a woman with a Christian tattoo.  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.

Illustrated throughout with astonishing CT images, the book reveals every 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.  It is now possible to determine some of the health problems that theindividual must have suffered from during life, their age at death, the mummification processes behind their preservation and, on occasion, anomalies in the embalming process.  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 for the first time been able to reveal the person behind the formal funerary mask.

With over 200 Illustrations