Hospital X-ray scans of three ancient relics from Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery have turned up a surprise – one of the mummies was a daddy.
Museum staff teamed up with Stafford Hospital in a bid to understand how three ancient Egyptians, whose bodies were later mummified, died.
But they were left scratching their heads when a body inside the “daughter of Amunkhau” coffin turned out to be that of a man.
The high-tech scans also failed to solve a 1,700-year-old murder mystery as a ‘metallic’ object in the neck of a Graeco-Roman mummy, which historians thought was an arrowhead, was in fact one of three or four fragments – probably metal – lodged in the base of the skull.
In the past, it has been necessary to unwrap mummies to carry out investigations but technological advances mean the destructive process can now be avoided. The scans were carried out by Bob Loynes, a former orthopaedic consultant at Stafford Hospital, and a keen Egyptologist.
“The opportunity to help with the further investigation of these mummies was a very exciting one,” Mr Loynes said.
“The scans have shown amazing details, which have produced as many questions as they have given answers.
“Further investigations are being planned. I hope we’ll be able to come back later with more answers and a comprehensive report.”
Birmingham Museum’s curator of world cultures, Adam Jaffer, said: “This scanning has produced views of the museum’s mummies which have never been seen before.
“We have been able to ‘virtually unwrap’ them without causing any damage.
“But scanning poses new questions about the life and death of these ancient Egyptians which we will try to find the answers for.”