The secrets of a 2,500-year-old Egyptian mummy are about to be revealed, thanks to experts at The University of Manchester.
Researchers in the Centre for Biomedical Egyptology were approached by a school in East Sussex asking if they could examine the ancient remains.
Uplands Community Technology College in Wadhurst was given the mummy by the late Dr Dick Kittermaster, a pathologist at St Thomas's Hospital in London.
Dr Kittermaster had been asked to investigate the history of the body by a museum in Cardiff in the late 1960s with help from experts at the British Museum.
What they discovered was that the remains did not match the coffin they had been found in.
Inscriptions on the coffin suggested the mummy was a 30-year-old male, who had been a royal carpenter around 700 BC. But what the team found was that the remains were, in fact, female.
Some years later, Dr Kittermaster gave a talk about the mummy to pupils at Uplands and the remains have been at the school ever since.
Now, staff and pupils from the school will visit the University's Centre for Biomedical Egyptology and witness first hand the latest scientific techniques available to researchers in the field.
"The school got in touch and said they had a mummy and wondered how they might set it up as a science project for their sixth formers," explained Professor Rosalie David, head of the Biomedical Egyptology Centre.
"We told them that if they could lend some samples to us we could carry out a number of experiments to find out as much as we could about the mummy."
A small group of staff and students from Uplands will be joined by pupils from Mossley Hollins High School in North Manchester to watch the experiments being carried out on the remains today (Tuesday, 22 February).
Professor David and her team will conduct an endoscopy on the mummy allowing them to look inside the body without damaging it.
They will also take X-rays of the remains and carry out tests to determine any evidence of disease.
Meanwhile, Dr Caroline Wilkinson from the School of Art in Medicine will use the mummy's head to produce a three-dimensional facial reconstruction using the latest computer software technology.
The results of the experiments will be presented to the school later in the year to help establish a science project for generations to come.
"We are hoping to be able to increase the knowledge about the mummy using the latest scientific techniques," said Professor David.
"We hope that our work will inspire the youngsters to consider science as a future career as part of our commitment to carry out work with schools and the wider community."
The dismemberment of the mummy in the 1960s took just three hours but Professor David says their work could take several months.
"We will carry out DNA tests to confirm the mummy's gender. Unusually, the mummy's heart has been removed and there are dislocations to the knee and leg brought about by some crushing blow.
"We will carry out various tests to add as much information about the mummy's background as possible."
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