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Egyptian Noblewomen Mummy's Face Revealed After 3,000 Years


The face of an Egyptian noblewoman who died more than 3,000 years ago has been recreated by a scientist working from a mummy found in a pharaoh's tomb.

Working from a hospital computer scan of the shrivelled mummy, Dr Wilkinson, from Manchester University's Unit of Art in Medicine, has recreated a face last seen more than 1,000 years before the birth of Cleopatra. Dr Wilkinson said: "It's been a great privilege and very exciting. Now, at last, we are able to put a face to the mummy, to see what she actually looked like."

Nicknamed "Lady X" by scientists because no one knows her real name, the mummy was found in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor. When she was found is undocumented. She has been in the Egyptian Museum of Cairo for the past 60 years. She is thought to have been buried with full royal honours in the tomb of King Seti II, who ruled from about 1204 BC to 1198 BC.

Dr Wilkinson said: "She's an enigma. No one knows how she died, but from the amount of wear on her teeth we can say she was probably in her forties. We know she was high born, because there is a thin layer of gold dust over her eyelids."




Dr Wilkinson, whose previous successes have included recreating the faces of unidentified bodies for the police, worked on Lady X as part of a joint Egyptian, Dutch and British team. The mummy was taken from the museum to Cairo's New Kasr-el-Aini Hospital and given a computer tomography (CT) scan. The scanner, normally used to detect cancers and other diseases, surveyed the head in 223 slices, each one a millimetre thick.

Dr Wilkinson said: "A computer translated each slice of the CT information into three dimensions, and used lasers to cut a wax resin copy of the skull. I could then work with the model skull, and the soft tissue information from the CT images.

She added: "You build the muscles of the face on to the skull one by one in clay. I used sets of average tissue depth data to give me a guide to the amount I should put on the face. The whole process takes a week. I think she's got quite a strong face, quite characterful, but I wouldn't say she has got Cleopatra's nose or anything like that."

Lady X's face will now be displayed alongside her mummy in the Egyptian Museum of Cairo. The project has inspired Dr Wilkinson to consider reconstructing the face of possibly the most famous pharaoh: Tutankhamun. She said: "Tutankhamun has a beautiful face on the gold mask he was buried with. As to how idealised that is, I don't know. It would be great to find out."


By Adam Lusher - Uk.Telegraph

(This news update is courtesy of News Service,  which has a complete daily news service from around the world)

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