My friend Victoria Lywood of Montreal, a forensic facial reconstruction expert who often works with the police, recently finished reconstructing the faces of three Egyptian mummies at the Redpath Museum in Montreal. If you’re in Montreal, I recommend you go see them. If not, read the following and click for the link for the pictures. From my point of view, displaying mummies ignores their humanity. They’re not objects, they’re dead human beings. But reconstructing the faces resurrects their humanity. We come face to face with people who lived thousands of years ago and who are like us. We look into their eyes. We admire their fashion sense. We come face to face with our common humanity. Great work Victoria Lywood.
Nearly 2,000 years ago, at a time when Egypt was under the control of the Roman Empire, a young woman with an elaborate hairstyle was laid to rest only yards away from a king’s pyramid, researchers report.
She was 5 feet 2 inches in height, around age 20 when she died, and was buried in a decorated coffin whose face is gilded with gold. A nearby pyramid, at a site called Hawara, was built about 2 millennia before her lifetime. The location of her burial is known from archival notes.
High-resolution CT scans reveal that, before she was buried, her hair was dressed in an elaborate hairstyle.
“The mummy’s hair is readily appreciable, with longer strands at the middle of the scalp drawn back into twists or plaits that were then wound into a tutulus, or chignon at the vertex (crown) of the head,” writes a research team in a paper published recently in the journal RSNA RadioGraphics. They note that it was a popular hairstyle at the time, which may have been inspired by a Roman empress, Faustina I, who lived in the second century. [ See Photos of Egyptian Mummy's Reconstruction ]
Today, thanks to research and reconstruction work that includes high-resolution CT scans, anthropological analysis, 3-D printing and facial reconstruction drawing, this woman, along with two other mummies, are being brought back to life. Their three-dimensional faces and hair, carefully reconstructed by professional forensic artist Victoria Lywood, of John Abbott College, are set to be revealed tomorrow (Jan. 25) at the Redpath Museum at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.
In pictures sent to LiveScience the reconstructions appear vividly real in every aspect, from the tone of their muscles to the color and style of their hair. It looks like they could be people living today.
“They are three human Egyptian mummies that have been trapped in the manner they held when laid to rest nearly 2,000 years ago. And now we can reveal what they might have looked like,” the team writes in a press release. All three mummies were donated to the Redpath Museum in the 19th century.
Click here for the full article with the pictures.