Tayef Nakht's coffin in the Royal Cornwall museum
London - Arabstoday
A 2,600-year-old Egyptian mummy has been put through a hospital CT scan so that experts can replicate its face for the first time.
The scan - usually used to screen living patients for diseases - revealed incredible details of temple priest Iset Tayef Nakht's skull that will help medical artists piece together what he looked like.
The mummy was brought to Cornwall in the 19th Century and was examined by Royal Naval surgeon Sir Stephen Lovehammick in 1828.
A report noted that when the body was unwrapped ‘it was perfectly preserved, the eyebrows still there and the forehead covered in a paste made of herbs’.
It was donated to the Royal Institution of Cornwall in 1837 and is now at the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro.
The images and data from the scan will now be used by experts at the Royal College of Art in London to make up a model of the skull.
It will then go to Manchester-based medical artists Richard Naeve and Denise Smith, who will painstakingly use soft tissue and other anatomical measurements to model the face.
The final product, a bronze resin cast of the Ancient Egyptian's visage, will be displayed in the Royal Cornwall Museum's new gallery when it opens in June.
Jane Marley, the museum's curator of archaeology, said that although they have some information about the temple priest, having his face recreated would bring the exhibition to life.
‘We know that he was aged about 65 from the style of his coffin, his teeth and also the fact that he had arthritis,’ she said.
‘He was about 5ft (1.5m) tall but I think he may have shrunk as he aged and the process of mummification and wrapping may have shrunk him.’
She said it was ‘incredibly exciting’ waiting to see his face for the first time, and hopes that one day they can carry out DNA analysis as well.
Iset Tayef Nakht was a temple priest in Al Karnack, a village on the east bank of the River Nile, about 2,600 years ago
The CT scan was undertaken by Royal Cornwall Hospital radiographer Sean Plumb, who said he was ‘absolutely amazed at how life-like the mummy's skull was’.
‘It's the first time I've ever been asked to scan a mummy of any kind, but the principle's exactly the same,’ he added.
The project has been funded by a Heritage Lottery Grant.