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3DVisA Survey of 3D Projects: Anthropology

Sherit. An Egyptian Child Mummy

The two-thousand-year old Egyptian mummy of a girl, known as Sherit (ancient Egyptian for 'Little One'), has been housed in the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose, California since the 1930s. Little was known about the body and its condition. In 2005 a team of scientists and researchers at the Stanford University, led by W. Paul Brown, produced a 3D visualisation of the girl’s head using high specification non-invasive 3D imaging technologies.

"A high-resolution C-arm computed tomography (CT) scanner from Siemens Medical Solutions was used to generate 60,000 2D scans of the unopened, intact mummy. Computers running the latest 3D computer graphics at Silicon Graphics used these scans to create a 3D model of the mummy and its interior."

This visualisation enabled the researchers to reveal a number of secrets. They established the background and age of the girl and possible causes of her death. She came from a well-off family and probably died of a sudden infectious disease, at the age of four or five.

This 3D visualisation won the 2006 Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge, an annual competition sponsored by the Science magazine and the US National Science Foundation. Felice Frankel, a member of the panel of judges, noted how “the definition of photography in science has expanded” and praised the "stunningly beautiful" image.

Project dates: 2005-2006

Resource status: ? A CD for museum education is intended.

Contributors: Robert Cheng, SUMMIT, Stanford University, California, US; Paul Brown and Kevin Montgomery, Stanford National Biocomputation Center; Juel Herbranson and Eric Herbranson, Brown & Herbranson Imaging; Rebecca Fahrig, Stanford Department of Radiology; Amy Ladd, Stanford Department of Surgery; Christof Reinhart, Volume Graphics; Julie Scott, Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, San Jose, California; Afshad Mistri, SGI/Apple Computer; Norbert Strobel, Siemens, US.

Sources and further details: Chatterjee, R., (2006), 2006 Visualization Challenge Winners, Science, 22 September, Vol. 313., No. 5794, pp. 1730-1735.

Record last updated: 30 September 2006.

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