Siemens unraveling secrets in Egypt

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Together with the National Geographic Society (NGS), Siemens Medical Solutions is supporting a research project of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities on mummies. The project's purpose is conservation of the mummies and, at the same time, to study health and disease in ancient Egypt. NGS and Siemens have donated a computed tomography (CT) system - Siemens' Somatom Emotion 6 - that is mounted in a trailer.
   
It is planned, during a three- to five-year period, to scan mummies that are still found in Egypt, which spanned a period of 3,000 years, starting 5,000 years ago. It will be possible to not only investigate diseases of antiquity, but also to provide important information for conservation of the mummies and to clarify many questions in Egyptology, Siemens said.
   
According to Siemens, the scanner's wide opening permits the mummies to be positioned without difficulty. Also, it is capable of displaying the finest details in three-dimensional imaging.
   
One of the highlights of the research project was the recent scan of the mummy of Pharaoh Tutankhamen, to explore what killed the king who ruled Egypt more than 3,000 years ago and died as a teenager. Tutankhamen is famous because his tomb, discovered in 1922 in the Valley of Kings, was almost untouched and filled with unbelievable treasures. In 1968, an x-ray examination revealed a chip of bone in his skull. This discovery, and the circumstances of his death, hurried mummification and burial, led to speculations that Tutankhamen might have been killed by a blow to the head.