Museums, Mummies, and Modern Technology

For the last six months, the Queensland Museum has been displaying an exhibition entitled Mummy: Secrets of the Tomb. The exhibition is on loan from the British Museum, and “reveals the life and death of an Egyptian priest and tells his story through an extraordinary 3D film and an exhibition showcasing more than 100 ancient objects”.

As any parent of small boys will tell you, there is nothing cooler than a real, live Mummy. (Especially one that’s been dead for a few thousand years.)

I’ve been meaning to take Big Brother to the exhibition ever since it opened in April. But you know how it is, there’s always something. When I realised that the exhibition closes this weekend, I threw all the excuses out the window and packed the boys off for a grand museum trip.

And it was awesome.

The exhibition focuses around the mummy of a priest named Nesperennub. The mummy was discovered in a tomb at Luxor in the 1890s, and has been a prized part of the British Museum collection ever since.

Over the last decade, he’s been the subject of a really fascinating investigation. Scientists have used modern non-invasive techniques (like x-ray and CT scans) in conjunction with graphic technology to create 3D renderings of exactly what lies hidden under Nesperennub’s linen wraps. And we got to see it all.

The first part of the exhibition was a 3D movie. This described the techniques used to determine Nesperennub’s gender, age, occupation, and cause of death. It also showed how scientists were able to perform a virtual facial reconstruction on Nesperennub, and how he would have lived. Then it detailed the embalming process, and touched on the religious significance of the trinkets and amulets buried with him.

It was fascinating. But to be honest, the highlight for me was that the movie was narrated by Jean Luc Picard.

Oh.

I’m sorry, my husband has just informed me that referring to such a great man by one of his character’s name is insulting and potentially offensive. I apologise.

The movie was narrated by Professor X.

So there we were, sitting in a darkened room at the Queensland Museum, with the Professor’s calm voice washing over us as we watched Nesperennub’s 3000-year-old face take shape in glorious 3D based on nothing more than virtual measurements of a skull.  And all I could think was….

Holy macaroni! The Angelator is real!

Also, the exhibition was good.

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1 Comment

Filed under Random Stuff, The Inner Geek

One response to “Museums, Mummies, and Modern Technology

  1. Pingback: Thank You, Spambot | The Happy Logophile

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