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New Exhibition Allows Visitors To Digitally Explore The Insides Of Ancient Mummies

Exquisite corpses! Now you can play archaeologist and mortician.
March 21, 2014, 3:20pm

I used to ignorantly think, if you've seen one mummy, you've seen 'em all. Could you blame me? Besides the ornate sarcophagi, each delicately-wrapped corpse looked pretty much the same. Not only was I wrong, but Stockholm's Medelhavsmuseet, the Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities, has been prepping a new, permanent exhibition that will let visitors virtually dig in and explore the exquisite corpses of eight human mummies.


The BBC shared a short video piece on the installation, explaining that the museum has been sending its mummies to hospitals to undergo computer tomography (CT) scanning, as well as photogrammetry, a process developed by the Interactive Institute Swedish ICT where 2D pictures of the sarcophagi and bodies were snapped from a variety of viewpoints before turning the information into 3D surface models (through use of Autodesk's Recap Photo software).

This yields density maps of the bodies' innards, offering insight into specific details about the corpses, such as where internal organs were taken out. Visitors can then explore the bodies using a touch-screen interface that sits adjacent to them. The BBC spoke with museum curator, Sofia Häggman, who explained that she wanted museum-goers to "See this information first hand…Now you can simply virtually unwrap [mummies] yourself."

Head over to the BBC to see their doc on the installation, and get some history on those daintily-wrapped corpses (Neswaiu, for example, is over 2,300 years old!). Thanks to this project, we can all play archeologist and mortician, an impressive evolution from simply observing the coffins of various Egyptian royalty through a glass box.

Images via Swedish ICT