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Forschungsdatenbank PMU-SQQUID

The infant mummy"s face-Paleoradiological investigation and comparison between facial reconstruction and mummy portrait of a Roman-period Egyptian child.
Nerlich, AG; Fischer, L; Panzer, S; Bicker, R; Helmberger, T; Schoske, S
PLOS ONE. 2020; 15(9): e0238427
Originalarbeiten (Zeitschrift)


Panzer Stephanie


In Graeco-Roman times in the Lower-Egyptian Fayoum region, a painted portrait was traditionally placed over the face of a deceased individual. These mummy portraits show considerable inter-individual diversity. This suggests that those portraits were created separately for each individual. In the present study, we investigated a completely wrapped young infant mummy with a typical mummy portrait by whole body CT analysis. This was used to obtain physical information on the infant and provided the basis for a virtual face reconstruction in order to compare it to the mummy portrait. We identified the mummy as a 3-4 years old male infant that had been prepared according to the typical ancient Egyptian mummification rites. It most probably suffered from a right-sided pulmonary infection which may also be the cause of death. The reconstructed face showed considerable similarities to the portrait, confirming the portraitxxxs specificity to this individual. However, there are some differences between portrait and face. The portrait seems to show a slightly older individual which may be due to artistic conventions of that period.

Useful keywords (using NLM MeSH Indexing)


Child, Preschool




Face/diagnostic imaging*

History, Ancient


Imaging, Three-Dimensional



Mummies/diagnostic imaging*


Portraits as Topic/history*

Radiographic Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted

Tomography, X-Ray Computed

Whole Body Imaging