Exposing secrets of ancient Egypt

Canon Canada Inc. says its XCDI-31 portable digital radio-graphy (DR) system played a part in possibly identifying the mummy of ancient Egypt’s Queen Nefertiti during a recent Discovery Channel Quest expedition.

X-ray is ideal for examining a mummy because it is less invasive and destructive than other methods. In the past, using conventional x-ray methods meant removing the mummies from their tombs and sending them to hospitals. Canon said its DR system allows egyptologists to examine the interior of the mummy’s tomb and produce instant images of the unidentified mummies. Radiographers and scientists can construct an instant three-dimensional skeleton of a mummified body, along with an animated “fly through” to actually see inside the mummy.

Egyptologist Dr. Joann Fletcher and her team were able to zoom in on areas of special interest, then enlarge and enhance the image without visible loss of detail.

In the mummy’s broken chest cavity, they saw rare gold beads cast in a shape associated with royalty. The beads had been broken loose by ancient tomb robbers who ripped the jewellery from the body. Certain joints were already fused, indicating that the mummy was an adult, and the pelvic ana-tomy was consistent with that of a female. Spinal x-rays also revealed lumbar scoliosis.