The decapitated head of an ancient Egyptian mummy found in an attic in Kent, England, has been put under a CT scan, revealing it belonged to a woman that lived at least 2,000 years ago.
The head is believed to have been brought back from Egypt as a souvenir in the 19th century, researchers from Canterbury Christ Church University said.
Initial X-rays taken at Canterbury Christ Church University suggested the head belonged to an adult female, and a more detailed CT scan was arranged to learn more.
Preliminary results from the CT scan, which took place at Maidstone Hospital, revealed that a rough diet had worn down the woman’s teeth, but her tongue was well preserved, researchers said.
There appeared to be tubing made of unknown material within the left nostril, and in the spinal canal of the mummy, researchers said, and it was unclear whether this was of ancient or more recent origin.
The brain appeared to have been removed in the mummification process.
There are still mysteries about the origins of the head, which was gifted to the Canterbury Museums and Galleries collection in a glass case.
“The head was found in the attic of a house in Kent which was being cleared out following the death of the owner,” James Elliott, diagnostic radiography lecturer at Canterbury Christ Church University and senior radiographer at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, said.
“During the Victorian times, items like this used to be brought back from Egypt as souvenirs and may well have been passed down through generations to the person who owned it.”
Craig Bowen, Canterbury Museums, galleries collections and learning manager, told Kent Online: “The head was found by a man who inherited it from his brother.
“It is believed that the brother got it from a ‘Dr Coates’ sometime in the early/mid twentieth century, but we do not have any more detail than that.”
“The scan provides a huge amount of information – everything from dental status, pathologies, method of preservation as well as assisting estimations of age and sex,” said Elliott, who led the scan.
Elliott said that the team planned to use scanned data to create a three-dimensional replica of the head and possible facial reconstruction.
He said that the advancement of CT technology allowed researchers to learn more detail about ancient Egyptian traditions.