A wrapped mummy of novel quality and exceptional appearance, whose burial rites were preserved from ages ago, has now been unwrapped—not by hand but virtually, using cutting-edge CT scans and 3D modeling software—revealing mysteries of the ancient kings of Egypt.
In 1902, among the royal mummies moved to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo was Amenhotep I, who reigned from 1525 to 1504 B.C. during the 18th Dynasty, whose remains were found in Luxor tomb Deir el-Bahari Royal Cache—where New Kingdom royalty were placed, so as to protect them from tomb robbers, some 3,000 years ago.
One of the few mummies found fully wrapped in modern times, Amenhotep I was marveled upon by then director of antiquities in Egypt Gaston Maspero. Having been desecrated by tomb raiders long ago, the mummy was reburied by priests of the 21st Dynasty. The beautiful reburial features garlands of yellow, red, and blue flowers, as well as an intact mask of cartonnage and painted wood with obsidian eyes and a cobra adorning the forehead. When the coffin of Amenhotep I was opened, a preserved wasp, possibly attracted by the smell of garlands and trapped, was also found inside. Preserving the novelty of this ritual, Maspero left Amenhotep I undisturbed.
Yet, recent technological advances have made possible a virtual “unwrapping” of the mummy, revealing more of the story hidden within.