VIDEO: Experience the journey of a mummy named Umi from the Cincinnati Art Museum to University Hospital, where a CT scan was performed to tell us more about him, and then to his new home, Cincinnati Museum Center. Originally part of the traveling exhibition Lost Egypt: Ancient Secrets, Modern Science, Umi is now on permanent display in our Museum of Natural History & Science.
Umi is an Egyptian mummy of a young boy dating back more than 1,800 years. Approximately four years old when he died, Umi was mummified in a ceremonial practice customary of Egyptian culture as his body was prepared for the afterlife.
Mummies give us a fascinating and detailed look at Egyptian culture, biology and medical techniques. Combining modern technology with the delicate body preserved through ancient techniques, scientists were able to take a closer look at Umi to better understand how he would have lived and what lies underneath his sarcophagus and wrappings.
Using CT scans, radiometric dating and rapid prototyping, scientists from Cincinnati Museum Center and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine/University of Cincinnati Physicians-Radiology were able to take a close-up look at Umi’s body and two dozen artifacts beneath the linen wrappings. Through this technology we were able to "unwrap" Umi, examining the amulets wrapped with his body. These amulets are vital portals through which we can understand Egyptian culture and religion, discerning what was so critical for one’s body and soul both in life and the afterlife. Using radiometric dating, scientists sampled a small piece of linen, giving us a relatively accurate date of A.D. 80-210 for mummification.
As conservators of Umi and this incredible piece of Egyptian and natural history, we were able to perform these analyses with little or no damage to the mummy or his wrappings, preserving Umi for future generations and further study by more advanced technologies. Join us as we continue to unravel the mysteries of Umi and draw your own conclusions about ancient Egypt.