In the News

We’ll try to post new and interesting articles, blog posts and video clips about the Penn Museum’s Egyptian collection, In the Artifact Lab, and new stories about projects and discoveries in Egypt here. If you have something interesting to share, please leave a comment.

What Lies Beneath?

We all know about the use of x-ray and CT-scanning technology for virtually “unwrapping” mummies, but have you heard of terahertz imaging? Terahertz technology, probably best known for its potential use in airport security, uses terahertz radiation, which falls between microwaves and infrared on the electromagnetic spectrum. There are many potential applications – read the article (by clicking on the title above) to learn more, and to see how the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago has used this technology to examine bird mummies!

Meteorites used to manufacture Ancient Egyptian jewelry

  • New research and new technology has confirmed that ancient Egyptians were using meteorites to manufacture jewelry in 3200 BCE, 1500 years before iron smelting was developed. Read more about it by following this link.

Egyptian blue and Nanotechnology

  • The ancient Egyptians are known for devleoping the world’s first synthetic pigment, Egyptian blue. This pigment, made by heating together copper, silica (sand), lime (calcium oxide) and an alkali such as natron (sodium sesquicarbonate) is found on objects from as early as the 4th Dynasty through to the Roman Period. But recent research published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society shows that this pigment may have new uses in nanotechnology. Hear more about it in their podcast by following this link.

Doctor to the Mummies

  • This article from the Washington Post traces the career of paleopathologist Dr. Michael Zimmerman. Dr. Zimmerman has studied over 200 mummies around the world, and one of the earliest mummies he examined was PUM I – he was part of the team who autopsied this mummy at the Penn Museum in 1972. We recently re-connected with Dr. Zimmerman-read more about it here. This article also offers some insights into how the study of mummies has changed with advances in technology and how studying ancient remains provides insights into the evolution of humans and disease.

Ancient mummies reveal a modern affliction

  • 5 Ancestral Puebloan mummies from the Penn Museum collection were examined as part of a larger study searching for atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) in ancient populations. Mummies from all over the world were included in this research. This article followed the recent publication of this study in the medical journal The Lancet – the paper can be accessed by following this link.

The Secret Life of the Egyptian Collection

  • A great article about our Egyptian collections and how they are being actively used for teaching at Penn as well as being accessed by scholars from all over the world. Includes a slideshow with images from Egyptian storage. Download PDF file here: The secret life of the Egyptian Collection _ Penn Current.

In the Public Eye

  • This is the latest of many articles that have featured In the Artifact Lab. This story was originally printed in the Philadelphia Inquirer on the cover of Science Monday, November 26, 2012. Story by Tom Avril.