Tuesday, May 26, 2015

High Tech reopening doors to the past Dr. Vannier surprised by many of the findings when Chicago mummies were rescanned after several decades

The Chicago Archaeological Society may well look forward to a rewarding afternoon of archaeological adventure when it assembles on May 31 for its final presentation of the 2014-15 program presentation with Dr. Michael Vannier as its guest speaker. Several years earlier Dr. Vannier was associated with a remarkable exhibit at the Oriental Institute.

A reexamination of the mummy of an ancient Egyptian singer-priestess named Meresamun brought visitors to a face to face meeting as revealed in CT scans using the latest equipment, help tell her life story. Accordingly, in a virtual way, people met a remarkable woman and, “through her eyes, learn what it was like to live in Egypt 2,800 years ago," according to Emily Teeter, an Egyptologist at the Oriental Institute and the curator of the exhibition. "We will be able to `recreate' the life of an Egyptian in a way no one has attempted before," reported Dr. Teeter.

A papyrus that belonged to Meresamun was also recovered. It is inscribed with an annuity contract. It states that in exchange for thirty pieces of silver that a woman gave to her husband, he, in turn, was obligated to supply her with a stated amount of silver and grain each year. Other objects reflect Meresamun's personal life, such as a selection of necklaces, hairstyling tools, and a hand mirror decorated with gold leaf. Dr. Geoff Emberling, the Director of the Oriental Institute Museum, noted in a press release, "Our collections have seemingly unlimited research value. It is remarkable how the mummy of Meresamun which has been on exhibit for nearly eighty years is now the focus of research that is providing new perspectives on life more than 2,800 years ago." 

Dr.Vannier, M.D. is Professor of Radiology at the University of Chicago. He was Professor of Radiology at the University of Iowa from 1996-2004, and Special Assistant to the Director of the Biomedical Imaging Program at the National Cancer Institute from 2001 to 2003.

His special background may appear to place him beyond the discipline of anthropology/archaeology. Not so.
According to Dr. Vannier, “The best known mummies in Chicago, like many other well-known examples, were CT scanned in the past. In the meantime, the technology for CT imaging has improved dramatically. We were surprised by many of the findings when we rescanned the Chicago mummies after several decades. I think that the same could be reported for many other mummies if newer CT technology was used. The same may be true for many other archeological artifacts.”

May 31, 2015 - Dr. Michael Vannier:
CT scanning of Egyptian Mummies - Repeat Examinations Provide New Findings .
Date: Sunday, May 31, 2015.
Time: 3:00 p.m. Social Hour: Refreshments and Fellowship. 
Place: Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington Av., Evanston
Program: 3:30 p.m. Presentation by our guest speaker: Dr. Michael Vannier, CT scanning of Egyptian Mummies - Repeat Examinations Provide New Findings .
Dinner: 5:00 p.m. Informal dinner with our guest speaker at Dave’s Kitchen.

Please note that the May meeting is scheduled to return to the Evanston Library, 1703 Orrington, Evanston.