Scientists learned more about the mysterious girl and her burial, thanks to high-resolution scans and “fine beams” of X-rays that targeted very small areas of the intact artifact.
CT scans of the mummy teeth and femur confirmed the girl’s age, although there were no signs of trauma to her bones that could indicate the cause of her death.
In a new study published on “scince alert” K, scientists reported that high-intensity targeted X-rays also revealed a UFO that had been placed on the child’s abdomen.
The scans conducted on the mummy about two decades ago were of low contrast, and it was difficult to see many details, but for the new analysis, the researchers performed new CT scans to visualize the entire structure of the mummy.
They then focus on specific areas using X-ray diffraction, in which an intensely focused beam of X-rays bounces off atoms in crystal structures; Differences in diffraction patterns reveal the type of material the object is made of.
This is the first time that X-ray diffraction has been used on an intact mummy, said lead study author Stuart Stock, professor of cell research and evolutionary biology at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago.
The mummy, known as “Hawara Portrait No. 4 Mummy,” is in the collection of the Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University, excavated between 1910 and 1911 from the ancient Egyptian site of Hawara, and dates back to around the first century AD, when Egypt was under Roman rule .
“During the Roman era in Egypt, they started making mummies with the plates attached to the front surface,” Stock told Live Science.
“Several thousand were photographed, but most of the pictures were removed from the mummies we have – maybe only 100 to 150 photos are still attached to the mummy,” he added.
Although the image on Mummy No. 4 showed an adult woman, the mummy’s small size indicates otherwise – scans confirmed that the mummy was a child, still so small that none of her permanent teeth were visible.
Her body measures 37 inches (937 mm) from the top of her skull to the soles of her feet, and the sheaths added another 2 inches (50 mm), according to the study.
Researchers also discovered 36 needle-like structures in the case – 11 around the head and neck, 20 near the feet and five at the torso. X-ray diffraction determined that these were modern metal wires or staples that may have been added to stabilize the artifact sometime during the past century.
Stock suggested that one of the surprising discoveries was an irregular layer of sediment in the mummy casings, and the clay may have been used by the attending priests to secure the mummy bandages.
Another puzzling finding was a small oval body about 0.3 inches (7 mm) long, which the researchers found in the mummy coil above the abdomen, and named the object “F embedding.”
X-ray diffraction showed it’s made of calcite – but what is it? One possibility is that it could have been an amulet involved, Stoke said, because the child’s body was damaged during the mummification.
After this unfortunate incident, priests often placed an amulet like a scarab on the damaged part of the body to protect the person in the afterlife, and the newly discovered calcite “point” was of the right size and in the right position to be and Stoke explained that the protective scarab was.
However, the resolution of the CT scan was not high enough to show the details carved into the object, so it is impossible to determine what could be, he said.
“Every time you go to a study like this, you get good answers. But then more questions arise,” said Stock.