Insights into a mummy: A paleoradiological analysis

Mislav Čavka*, Ivor Janković, Petra Rajić Šikanjić, Nino Tičinović, Stipe Radoš, Gordana Ivanac, Boris Brkljačić

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of the study was to analyze possible human skeletal remains within the wrappings of a mummy from the Archaeological Museum, Zagreb, Croatia through the use of the multidetector CT (MDCT) technology. Plain X-ray films and MDCT images of the mummy were taken in both frontal and lateral views. In a single volumetric acquisition of the whole body by MDCT, 0.75 mm axial slices were obtained and combined with sagittal and coronal reformatting and three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction. Sex and age was assessed visually using standard anthropological methods. The results suggest that the mummy was of an adult female, most likely over 40 years of age at death. Pathologies observed included degenerative changes on the vertebral column and healed fractures of the lower right arm. Damage of the ethmoid bone at the roofofthe nasal cavity was most likely caused by mortuary brain removal practice. Remnants of a resin and an unusual object were found inside the cranial cavity. An elongated metal object and additional three metal «belts» can be seen on the lower portion of the body. All internal organs were removed and thoracic and abdominal cavities were filled with various substances, most likely mud and pieces of linen cloth. Our results show that the MDCT is a very useful technique for assessing the human remains in archeological samples, especially in comparison to the use of plain film (X-ray), where important details are obscured and 3D imaging impossible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)797-802
Number of pages6
JournalCollegium Antropologicum
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010

Other keywords

  • CT
  • Mummies
  • Paleopathology
  • Paleoradiology


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