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In 1908 in Manchester, some 500 people gathered in a lecture theatre to see prominent Egyptologist Margaret Murray supervise the unwrapping of a body from the Tomb of the Two Brothers from Manchester Museum's mummy collection.
As Egyptology and archaeology evolved, the destructive practise came to an end, but it didn't mean researchers and the public were any less curious about what lies within a mummy.
Now 21st Century technology is being used to virtually unwrap mummies without causing any damage to the body and wrappings
Using the table, visitors can virtually open the two coffins and then unpeel each layer of the mummy from his highly decorated cartonnage (the mummy's outer layer) down to his skeleton. They can also cut a cross-section through the multiple layers of the coffins and body.
The results for one of their mummies, the Egyptian priest Neswaiu, are now on show in the form of a digital autopsy table in an "embalmment room" beside his real mummified remains and coffins.
Neswaiu lived in the third century BC at the temple of the god Montu in Thebes - modern-day Luxor. His remains were gifted to the Medelhavsmuseet in 1928 when it first opened.
"We know that his mother's name was Takerheb and we also know that he belonged to the upper classes of Egyptian society because he could afford an expensive mummification. Not everybody could," said Sofia Häggman.
"He also has a gilded cartonnage, he has two coffins and he has a lot of amulets on his mummy, small pieces of jewellery that would aid him into eternal life."
Researchers have tried to see what was inside his mummy before. His stomach was opened in 1962 and a tissue sample removed and X-rays have also been taken previously. But the digital autopsy has added much more detail to their understanding.
"He was healthy, pretty muscular apparently. He lived until he was 50 or 60 years old which was comparatively old in ancient Egypt and he might have died from an infection in one of his teeth which affected the bone and could have caused blood poisoning," said Ms Häggman.
What Neswaiu doesn't have any more is a brain - that was not preserved. Humans, the Egyptians believed, thought with their hearts.
I know what it is. What is the fascination in
reply to post by Bilk22
They've discovered the Egyptians put more interest in to the heart than the brain. I am fascinated by history, these mummies were excavated in the early 1900's, not recently. As far a desecration...this is a virtual unwrapping of a mummy from the 3rd century BC.