A group of Indian scientists have braved the curse of the pharaohs to carry out important cleansing and restoration work of a 2,300 year old Egyptian mummy. It was one of six Egyptian mummies in India and it was on the verge total decay while being housed at the State Museum in the city of Hyderabad. Now that the first of its kind restoration has been completed, the Indian experts claimed that the advanced technique used by Indian scientists can serve as a case study world over.
Director of the Telangana Department of Archaeology and Museums N. R. Vishalatchy, told Sputnik: "After several rounds of inspection it was decided the interior layers of the mummy were intact. Whatever was peeling off, needed to be consolidated. So, through non-invasive techniques it was removed. Experts used fresh, sterile cotton gauze to remove it."
"The skull and toe portions had also been exposed for the past several decades. We have now covered those areas using the same materials used in the mummification process. The X-ray and CT scan of the mummy confirmed that the skeleton and the wrapping were all intact. We did not see any gaps. But, what we were amazed to see was that all of the teeth were completely intact."
"And, the CT scan also revealed that skeleton was around 4.5ft in height. This was the normal height of Egyptians during that age."
In an attempt to minimize the degradation caused to the mummy by heat, light, temperature and insects, scientists first carried out a detox procedure and then reconstructed the fragile linen wrapped around the body. Cracks in the cartonage were consolidated using conservation material.
The old case has been replaced with an oxygen-free case that will keep away humidity, insects and bacteria. Nevertheless, care has been taken to retain the mummy's original looks. According to officials, the techniques used can be an example for conservation of other mummies in India and abroad.
Speaking to the Sputnik about the project, Heritage Conservation Advisor Vinod Daniel who oversaw the process said: "To tell about more the bone structure, we've found that there was a fracture in the ankle. It was a minor fracture. Still, I think the biggest finding was the age of the woman, which was 25. This is probably the first time a mummy has been really analyzed, preserved, and conserved in this manner in India. There are six mummies across India in different museums, so whatever happens here will set the trend for the others."
"There was also a stone in the stomach. Typically, when they mummify something they would remove all the internal organs as well as brain mainly because it would reduce bacterial activities. During the mummification process, sometimes they will put something precious inside and the richer you were, the more things would be put inside, including the things which they used in their life time. But it's hard to say what this object is," he also stated.