Wednesday 18 December 2013

The mummy boy who came from a video

In May 2013 I traveled to Curitiba (Brazil) on the occasion of two events, Mummy's Happy Day 2, where I would do a lecture and Faces of Evolution, an exhibition where I had presented a series of facial reconstructions of hominid modeled by myself and by archaeologist Dr. Moacir Elias Santos .

The conference was a success and the height of the excitement, we already have begun to draft plans for a new exhibition. As the staff of the Rosicrucian and Egyptian Museum had an Andean mummy (in Portuguese) of a child of about two years (when she died), we decided that the next exhibition will contemplate the children of the past. How would their homes, their toys and the historical reality of the time in which they lived.

Like the Faces of Evolution, the exhibition Children of the Past (working title) would consist of facial reconstructions of children from various periods.

 Until that time we had the mummy of St. Louis, a baby belonging to the Roman period of ancient Egypt. In addition to his aforementioned Andean mummy, but had not yet done tomography her.

After the initial excitement, life returned to normal, but the desire to rebuild faces did not leave us. A few days ago, when I was writing an article about a mummy that I had extracted from a video, I had to resort to the original material posted on Vimeo (sent by The Field Museum), so I could remember what part met the corresponding CT slices that mummy.

When I reviewed the video, I almost had a heart attack because I did not know why at the time, about a year ago, I did not realize that within that filming had at least 2 or three scans mummies ... and one body whole!

 When I had some time between one job and another, I made the extraction of CT scans. It works like this:

1) Converts up the video into a sequence of images.

2) Edit the sequence of images isolating the area where the CT appears (as pictured above).

3) Converts the sequence of single images in DICOM files.

This process had already explained in a previous post, so if you want to know the details, just access it.

I was very enthused when I opened the file in InVesalius and came across one complete mummy inside a beautiful coffin. Until that moment, did not think it was a boy.

Speaking of the coffin, it was possible to observe the details of the timber, both internally and externally.
When I filtered the data in InVesaius, hiding the wooden track, behold, the skeleton inside is revealed in 3 dimensions. The "impurities" around the coffin it seems to be the sealing material between one timber and another. 

One of the interesting features of a CT is that it can come in the scale. In the case of the boy I had to resort to the references presented in the video to put it at the correct scale, and discover its height, which is 1.37m (dehydrated). From such data began to age estimation.

To estimate the age, one of the most affordable ways is to analyze the teeth. The problem is to filter the area of the bones that would become an endless work, since the sealing material would be exported with the skull. Fortunately InVesalius has a selection tool and deleting areas that ended up helping a lot in filtering the bones, leaving practically only the skull for export.
Once the skull has been imported to Blender, it became easier to see the details and attest that it was a boy between 12 and 15 years. How we knew it was a boy? Simple, tomography is full body, then the characteristics that differ from the other sex were evident in body morphology.
Then the muscles were adequate to the skull.
The same was done with the skin. From a previously modeled and deformed face  until the characteristics match with the mummy's boy. A video with this technique can be seen here.

To finish I used the patterned clothe modeled to an previous reconstruction and was finally ready the mummy boy who came from a video.


To The Field Museum for posting the video, which enabled all this work.

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