They lived and died thousands of years ago, but two mummies survived the centuries to become part of the Egyptian collection at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
“This is really exciting,” said Michele Koons, the DMNS curator of archaeology.
Not much is known about the mummies, except that they were both women and are between 2,500 to 3,000 years old. In a search for answers, they are now getting high-tech treatment. On Monday night -- with an ambulance and all -- museum curators took the mummies to Children’s Hospital in Aurora, to undergo a CT scan and look beneath the surface.
“They’re in linens, and the one is covered in a tar surface, so we can’t see inside them at all,” Koons said.
Back at an underground lab at the museum, curators and archeologists pour over the scan results. Turns out, there are other amulets and metals on the mummies -- details which were not visible until now.
“There is what looks to be a winged scarab beetle, but we’re not sure yet, we have to process that data a lot more,” Koons said.
Pearce Paul Creasman is an Egyptologist, or an archaeologist who specializes in Egypt. He flew in from the University of Arizona to see this.
“We want to learn as much as possible about these really beautiful pieces of human history,” he said.
There are other lab tests underway on the mummies as well.
“We’re going to do an isotope analysis of the eyelashes and the eyebrows and this will help us understand about her diet,” Koons said.
One of the other potential mysteries in all of this has to do with the sarcophagus. Back in the early 1900s, looters would sometimes take a mummy out of its original sarcophagus and put it in a nicer-looking one, in order to sell it to collectors. Museum officials are hoping lab tests, like radio-carbon dating, might be able to show whether the mummies are in their original sarcophagi.
“We can learn so much about who these people were, potentially,” Koons said.
Eventually, the museum hopes to offer visitors a 3-D picture of the mummies and give them greater insight into a time when pharaohs ruled. The mummies are on permanent loan to DMNS from the Rosemount Museum in Pueblo.