Blogs & Videos: Mummies

Through thick and thin! Stabilizing the Plaster on Minirdis’ Coffin

After cleaning, the first part of Minirdis’ burial equipment that we treated was his coffin.  The coffin was constructed of wood panels joined with wood dowels. A layer of an orange colored plaster like material had been applied over the wood to fill gaps between the wood panels and provide a smooth surface. On top of the plaster layer, the coffin had been painted black with red and yellow decoration.

How to Uncoffin a Mummy

Removing the lid of the coffin was just the start. Now there was the problem of removing the damaged mummy from the lower half of the coffin. With the lid off we found that the right side piece, which had been held in place by the lid, was detached from the bottom of the coffin and could easily be removed. This meant that the mummy could be slid out, instead of trying to pick it up – good news because the assembly was very fragile. Even so, this was no small task, and it took four people to safely move him out of the coffin.

Introduction to the Conservation of "Mummies: Images of the Afterlife"

  Traveling exhibits pose a challenge for museums, especially when particularly fragile objects such as mummies are involved. We want to share our objects and what we’ve found out about them with people outside the museum, but transporting the objects to other museums involves all kinds for risks – traffic accidents, malfunctioning forklifts, road vibration, and freezing winters to name just a few.

Video: Gilded Lady, The Mummy

Using state of the art technology, Anthropologists from The Field Museum had the opportunity to examine Egyptian mummies for the first time. Check out the amazing images that they produced using a portable medical CT scanner. These mummies have been part of the Museum collections for many years and thanks to proper conservation methods, researchers are now able to work with them without causing any damage.

Video: Night Shift with Mr. Harwa

Michael Carter has worked at The Field Museum for almost 10 years. He is one of the security officers who take care of the Museum at night, and he makes sure that nothing "moves"... During his rounds, Micheal enjoys walking through the "Inside Ancient Egypt" rooms and pondering the life of the mummies that are part of this breathtaking exhibit. Join him!

18 July 2011 - CT Scanning

This past week, we got a glimpse inside some of The Field Museum’s mummies and a few other artifacts.  Because we can’t physically unwrap the mummies without damaging them, we used a CT scanner to make three dimensional x-ray images of the objects.  Using software, we can then take a look at the 3D image to see what’s inside.  Inside we found grave goods such as a pot filled with what appears to be grain or residue from an evaporated liquid and what could be a necklace in addition to human remains, of course.  Although in one case, we found no remains where we expected to see a full skeleton.