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Old 12-10-2014, 03:05 AM
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Chicago Scientists Open Egyptian Mummy Coffin

By Caryn Rousseau

Associated Press

December 9, 2014

CHICAGO — Once the lid was off the wood coffin holding the 2,500 year old mummified remains of a 14 year old Egyptian boy, scientist, J. P. Brown, could relax.

The conservator at Chicago's Field Museum and three other scientists, had just used clamps and pieces of metal to create a cradle to lift the fragile lid.

Wearing blue surgical gloves, they slowly lifted the contraption containing the coffin lid and carefully walked it to a table in a humidity controlled lab at the museum.

"Sweet!" Brown said, after helping set the lid down. He later added, "Oh yeah, God, I was nervous!"

The well planned routine came Friday as scientists started conservation work on the mummy of Minirdis, the son of a stolist priest.

The mummy needs to be stabilized so it can travel in the upcoming exhibit, "Mummies: Images of the Afterlife," which is expected to premier next September at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. It is expected to travel to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science in Fall, 2016.

The Field Museum has had the mummy since the 1920s, when the institution received it from the Chicago Historical Society. It's part of the museum's collection of 30 complete human mummies from Egypt.

"There's always a risk of damage," said Brown, who did the work in a lab filled with plastic covered examination tables set behind a large window to let schoolchildren watch his daily work. "So we like to handle these things as little as possible."

Inside the coffin, there was expected damage. CT scans, which make x-ray images that allow scientists to see inside the coffin before opening it, showed the boy's feet were detached and partially unwrapped with his toes sticking out. His shroud and mask were torn and twisted sideways. Those also will be repaired.

Brown didn't worry that the mummy would scatter to dust when opened — something common in the movies. Pieces of the coffin had previously gone missing, exposing the mummy to the elements.

"The last bit of, 'Indiana Jones,' and all that," Brown explained before opening the coffin. "That's not going to happen."

And it didn't.

Walking around the opened coffin, Brown pointed and explained the significance of a certain marking, the colored resin on the linen wrappings or the gilded gold on the mask. If Minirdis had lived, he would have been a priest like his father, Brown said. Scientists don't know why he died so young.

"The fascinating thing about any mummy is that it's survived as long as it has," Brown said. "They're actually amazingly fragile."

This kind of work is always painstaking, filled with pre-planning and tests so scientists are prepared for the unexpected, said Molly Gleeson, who works with mummies as project conservator at Penn Museum's, "In the Artifact Lab: Conserving Egyptian Mummies," exhibition in Philadelphia.

"These are unique individuals, unique objects," she said. "There's nothing else like them. If damage were to happen, we can't put things back together exactly the way they were before."

Photos

1 - 2. P.J. Brown, Regenstein Conservator at the Field Museum, describes the conservation process that will be given to the coffin and mummified body of Minirdis.

3. Richard Lariviere, left, President and CEO of the Field Museum, gives visiting students from Liberty Intermediate School in Bourbonnais, Illinois, an impromptu, up close look at the mummified body.

4. In this photo, is the mummified body of Minirdis, a 14 year old Egyptian boy, his exposed toes, and burial shroud with gold painted toenails as they lie in his opened coffin.

5. P.J. Brown, Regenstein Conservator at the Field Museum, examines the burial mask on the mummified body.

6. Egyptian hieroglyphics etched on top of a 2500 year old Egyptian coffin identify the mummy's name and lineage inside.

7. P. J. Brown, Regenstein Conservator at the Field Museum, describes what a CT scan revealed about the mummified body of Minirdis.

8. The mummified body lies in his opened coffin after J. P. Brown and his team of curators at the Field Museum, opened the coffin for the first time.

9. The mummified body of Minirdis.

10. P. J. Brown, second from left, Regenstein Conservator at the Field Museum, and his team of scientists, open the coffin containing the mummified body of Minirdis.

All photos © AP Photos/Charles Rex Arbogast, December 5, 2014

http://www.fieldmuseum.org

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Old 12-10-2014, 10:42 AM
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Re: Chicago Scientists Open Egyptian Mummy Coffin

The ancient Egyptians believed that they would travel on a journey after death. I do not think they expected it to be to Los Angeles and Denver.

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Old 12-10-2014, 10:48 AM
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Re: Chicago Scientists Open Egyptian Mummy Coffin

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The ancient Egyptians believed that they would travel on a journey after death. I do not think they expected it to be to Los Angeles and Denver.
They should have left a note, stating they wish to see Florida instead.

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Old 12-10-2014, 07:00 PM
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Re: Chicago Scientists Open Egyptian Mummy Coffin

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They should have left a note, stating they wish to see Florida instead.
Yeah he would be with others more similar in age..

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Old 12-10-2014, 08:06 PM
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Re: Chicago Scientists Open Egyptian Mummy Coffin

Actually California has the largest elderly population when you count the number of elderly in each state.

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Old 12-10-2014, 08:31 PM
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Re: Chicago Scientists Open Egyptian Mummy Coffin

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Originally Posted by niknik View Post
Actually California has the largest elderly population when you count the number of elderly in each state.
Florida has the highest concentration of elderly in any state. California just has double the residents Florida does.

Florida.. 1st in elderly residents, 17.6% of population.
California.. 47th in elderly residents, 10.6% of population.

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Old 12-10-2014, 09:20 PM
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Re: Chicago Scientists Open Egyptian Mummy Coffin

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Originally Posted by TheVrist View Post
They should have left a note, stating they wish to see Florida instead.

"God's Waiting Room?"

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Old 12-10-2014, 10:12 PM
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Re: Chicago Scientists Open Egyptian Mummy Coffin

Yea, florida is the catch all state for retirees.

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Old 12-10-2014, 10:53 PM
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Re: Chicago Scientists Open Egyptian Mummy Coffin

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Poo View Post
Florida has the highest concentration of elderly in any state. California just has double the residents Florida does.

Florida.. 1st in elderly residents, 17.6% of population.
California.. 47th in elderly residents, 10.6% of population.
That's why I pointed out if you count the elderly, California has the most.

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Old 12-10-2014, 11:18 PM
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Re: Chicago Scientists Open Egyptian Mummy Coffin

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Originally Posted by niknik View Post
That's why I pointed out if you count the elderly, California has the most.
If you simply count the grains of sand on a beach, it serves no purpose for comparison with another beach. If you quantify that sand with a percentage of each type of rock, you can determine many things about that sand. Where the sand came from in it's path of deposition, how long it traveled, what route it took. Then from that data you can determine when and where other beaches with similar sand profiles originated as well.

Point being, data that's not quantified is not only useless, but also meaningless.

Of course with double the population there will be more elderly, that gives no actual visual of the density of elderly in each state.

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