Using CT scanning and 3D printing technology, team of researchers and forensic scientists, led by the University of Melbourne, has produced a reconstruction of a 2000-year-old mummified head from Egypt. The head belongs to an Egyptian woman aged between 18 and 25 years whom the team named Meritamun, meaning “beloved of the god Amun.”How and why the University of Melbourne has a mummified Egyptian head in the basement of its medical building is a mystery.
It may well have been part of the collection of Professor Frederic Wood Jones (1879-1954) who before becoming head of anatomy at the University in 1930 had undertaken archaeological survey work in Egypt. Meritamun was identified as ancient Egyptian by Dr Janet Davey, a forensic Egyptologist from Monash University who is based at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, where the head was scanned.
Dr Janet Davey guesses that Meritamun was probably about 162cm tall, given accepted thinking that ancient peoples were generally shorter than people today. If the researchers had bone from her arm, leg or even just her heel they could have established a more accurate estimate. Dating her is also difficult. Dr Davey is now waiting on radiocarbon dating to give a better idea of when Meritamun lived, which Dr Davey says could be as long ago as c 1500 BC. Radiocarbon dating works by measuring the amount of organic carbon atoms that are left in a tissue sample.