Author: Dr Marc Tanti
Ancient Egypt is famous for the mummies of Pharaohs, but did you know that there are many mummified animals? Studying them offers scientists a wealth of knowledge on the method and motivation behind this practice. But mummies are fragile artefacts, and museum curators don’t generally appreciate archaeologists dissecting their specimens. To get around this, X-rays help researchers peek inside the mummies without damaging them.
After finishing my Ph.D. in artificial intelligence, I started working as a research support officer at the University of Malta on a collaborative project with archaeologists at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), a research institute in France. These archaeologists are studying animal mummies from museum collections, such as the Museum of Grenoble, in order to learn about their structure. This institute is better known for its particle accelerator, which sets electrons flying at nearly the speed of light to understand the shape of drugs and other molecules. So, what’s the link with mummies?Continue reading