Sun, Nov 16, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Taiwan unraveling mummy's shroud of mystery


A 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummy underwent a thorough examination at a Taipei hospital in an attempt to unveil some of the mystery surrounding it, a hospital official said yesterday.

The mummy, named Hemoutouati, which is part of a collection loaned to Taiwan by the Louvre Museum in Paris, underwent an X-ray and MRI examination at the Kungkuan branch of the National Taiwan University Hospital, along with the mummified bodies of four animals.

It is estimated that the total cost of the examinations will be around NT$50,000 (US$1,470).

This is the first time the Louvre has agreed to allow the mummies to be examined in such detail. Judging from the size and description of the human mummy, it could be that of a girl who had yet to reach adulthood.

Dr Liao Han-wen (廖漢文), who is presiding over the hospital examination team, said that he did not know why the sponsor of the exhibition allowed Taiwan to examine the mummy.

Liao said that, although he is unsure if the team will be able to help unravel all the mummy's mysteries, they are very excited and have been hard at work studying books and films concerning Egyptian mummies.

He said that the team is planning to observe the position of the hands under the shroud to find out if she was a noble or a commoner, and will examine the condition of the teeth and bones in an attempt to determine the mummy's height, size, age and even cause of death.

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