Advanced Photon Source

An Office of Science National User Facility

Researchers Unraveling Mummy Mysteries with Powerful APS X-rays

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Inside a sprawling research building at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, a collection of scientists, researchers and art curators assembled Monday to unravel the mysteries of a mummy.


The ancient Roman-Egyptian linen-wrapped remains of a 5-year-old girl, including an embedded portrait, were unearthed in Hawara, Egypt, in 1911. The mummy, about 1,800 years old and weighing 50 pounds, is from the collection of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary on the Northwestern University campus. Northwestern researchers have been piecing together her story.


That’s how the mummy ended up inside the thick lead doors of the research station at Argonne, where the high-energy, high-brightness, and penetrating x-ray beams from the Advanced Photon Source synchrotron will be able to provide unprecedented details about her components. (The Advanced Photon Source is an Office of Science user facility.)


The entire Chicago Tribune article by Patrick M. O’Connell can be read here. (May require digital subscription)

Watch an Argonne-produced video on this research.

See also:

First-of-its-kind mummy study reveals clues to girl’s story
Northwestern University
Who is she, this little mummy girl? Northwestern University scientists and students are working to unravel some of her mysteries, including how her body was prepared 1,900 years ago in Egypt, what items she may have been buried with, the quality of her bones and what material is present in her brain cavity.
As part of a comprehensive scientific investigation, the mummy traveled from Evanston to Argonne National Laboratory on Nov. 27 for an all-day X-ray scattering experiment. It was the first study of its kind performed on a human mummy.

Researchers use advanced technology to study child mummy
ABC News
Researchers from Northwestern University and Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago are using advanced technology to unwrap the mysteries of an 1,800-year-old mummy.
They say the high-energy X-ray beams from a synchrotron will provide molecular information about what is inside the mummy of the little girl. Argonne says it's the first time the beams have been used in this way.

Researchers use advanced technology to study child mummy
Lexington Herald Leader
Researchers from Northwestern University and Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago are using advanced technology to unwrap the mysteries of an 1,800-year-old mummy. They say the high-energy X-ray beams from a synchrotron will provide molecular information about what is inside thethe mummy of the little girl. Argonne says it's the first time the beams have been used in this way.

Unwrapping Mummy Mysteries Goes High-Tech
Olean Times Herald
Scientists, museum curators and medical researchers put an 1800-year-old Egyptian-Roman mummy under a powerful X-ray at the Argonne National Laboratory Monday to start unraveling the mysteries behind the wrappings.

Researchers use advanced X-Ray technology to study child mummy
The Asian Age
They say the high-energy X-ray beams from a synchrotron will provide molecular information about what is inside the mummy of the little girl.

Researchers use advanced technology to study child mummy
Tampabay.com
Researchers from Northwestern University and Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago are using advanced technology to unwrap the mysteries of an 1,800-year-old mummy.

Researchers use advanced technology to study child mummy
mySanAntonio.com
They say the high-energy X-ray beams from a synchrotron will provide molecular information about what is inside the mummy of the little girl.

Thanks to a particle accelerator, we can see inside this ancient mummy
PBS NewsHour
Northwestern University’s Hibbard mummy contains the remains of a five-year-old girl who lived during the late first century A.D. Her home was located in an agricultural community in the Faiyum oasis just west of the Nile, at the crossroads of a fading Egyptian and growing Roman empire. And on Monday, a team of scientists carted her off for a 24-hour session with a particle accelerator.

Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation's first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America's scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit the Office of Science website.

 

Published Date: 
11.28.2017