SUZANNE DAVIS, Curator of Conservation
Last week our colleagues Ron Bude and Michele Sakala, who are MDs in the Radiology Department of the University of Michigan Health System, arranged for the Kelsey’s grain mummy (and his friends cat mummy and hawk mummy) to have CT scans at the U-M Hospital.
These little mummies are not sick! But CT scanning — computerized tomography scanning — is a great, nondestructive way to look inside an archaeological artifact. This technique uses x-rays, but it’s more detailed than a regular x-ray. The scanner takes images from many different angles, and then special software combines these to create cross-sectional images, or slices, of what was scanned.
With CT scanning, we’re hoping to see what’s actually inside these objects. For example, what kind of grain is inside the grain mummy? And, are there any little amulets in there with it? What about the cat mummy? Does it actually have cat bones inside?
We don’t have results yet, so stay tuned! We did have a great time at the hospital, which is not something one often says, and the Kelsey artifacts were quite popular with Radiology staff members. Apparently, when you use radiology every day as a diagnostic tool for humans, a cat mummy makes a nice change of pace!