Mummification unwrapped: investigating an Egyptian votive mummy using novel, non-invasive archaeometric techniques
thesisposted on 29.03.2022, 03:45 by Carla A. Raymond
Due to a history of malpractice in archaeology, minimally and non-destructive investigative techniques are necessary to protect precious artefacts and mummified remains for the future. Using a combination of established and novel techniques, X-ray computed tomography (CT) and neutron CT, allowed for non-destructive study of IA.2402, an unusual Egyptian votive mummy of unknown age and provenance. These imaging methods revealed a partial skeleton of a small, juvenile cat. Use of both techniques allows for dual contrast and complementary study of bones, soft tissue, and textile components. Neutron CT, never before applied to archaeometric studies of mummified remains, provided valuable insight into wrapping techniques used in the mummification process. Pigment analysis was performed for coloured markings on the wrappings, using a scanning electron microscope and Raman spectroscopy, to determine their composition and authenticity. Protein extraction and analysis was attempted, however was inconclusive of species due to the decayed state of remains. Radiocarbon dates were acquired, and provided quantitative results to compare with morphological observations and conclusions based on partiality of the contents. All techniques were employed to better define and profile the specimen, within its historical context, while causing as little physical disruption as possible.