domingo, 18 de diciembre de 2011

La momia del sacerdote Pahat

Mummy gets high-tech treatment at

Jenn Smith
Thursday February 25, 2010
PITTSFIELD -- Though he may be a mummy, the Egyptian priest Pahat can still
speak volumes about his ancient civilization.
On Wednesday morning, the nearly 2,300-year-old Berkshire Museum resident and
the lower half of his sarcophagus were wrapped to brave the winter weather to
undergo a CT scan at Berkshire Medical Center.
The procedure uses advanced X-ray technology as a tool in the scientific
study of mummies.
Stuart Chase, executive director of the museum, was among a crowd of nearly
20 other museum, medical and press personnel who squeezed into BMC's CT scanning
suite to watch the process firsthand.
"It's a rare situation to have a mummy and to be a museum that's so close to
a hospital with the technology to be able to do this," said Chase. "It's an
exciting new way to unlock the mysteries of the past."
Pahat himself was first scanned in 1984. On June 4, 2007, the mummy was
scanned again at BMC.
The 2007 scan was the result of the mummy being chosen as a participant in
the Akhmim Mummy
Studies Consortium (AMSC) research project, which is based in Harrisburg, Pa.
Led by Dr. Jonathan Elias, an Egyptologist and physical anthropologist, the
AMSC's mission is to use mummies to advance knowledge on the ancient city of
Akhmim (formerly Ipu), Egypt, where Pahat was found.
Located about 300 miles south of Cairo, this site contains a vast necropolis
from which dozens of mummies were taken and sold for as little as $5 but shipped
to buyers for as much as $250 during the 1880s. Pahat was procured by Zenas
Crane who founded the Berkshire Museum in 1903.
Collections Manager Leanne Hayden was "very nervous" about the mummy
returning to BMC on Wednesday, for fear of his ancient body being exposed to
outside elements and another dose of radiation from the CT scan.
But the hospital upgraded to a new scanning machine since 2007. Scans can now
be done at a faster rate using a lower dose of radiation and can produce
analysis-ready images at a higher resolution. So Hayden agreed to the mummy's
third scan.
"We're always looking to expand living research at the museum. We're always
finding new things about our own collection. This will give us more information
through the context of Pahat's procedure," she said.
Data from the 2007 scan was used to create a 3-D bust of Pahat, who died
around the age of 50 as a Sem priest to the temple cult of Min, the Egyptian god
of male virility and harvest. Elias called priests like Pahat the "worker bees"
of a temple, often aiding in funerary processes.
The data collected from Wednesday's CT scan will be incorporated with what is
known as "fly-through" animation technology to create a 3-D journey through the
mummy's body cavity. The new images will be unveiled this summer at the premiere
of the museum's exhibit "Wrapped! The Search for the Essential Mummy."
Pahat's latest scan comes amidst the international buzz about another ancient
mummy, King "Tut" Tutankhamen. Last week, new research emerged indicating that
the famous boy pharaoh may have died from complications with malaria.
But Elias feels that the preoccupation with Tut complicates the study and
public knowledge of ancient Egypt as a whole, and the lives of more ordinary
people like Pahat.
"The world needs to move beyond Tut," said Elias. "We have to care about
other Egyptians. Otherwise, science doesn't progress."

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