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Experts at Chicago's Field Museum are opening the coffin of a 2,500-year-old Egyptian mummy to perform essential conservation work. The remains are of a 14-year-old boy and through looking at him scientists are learning more about lifestyle in the late Egyptian period. It's a rare opportunity for experts here at the Field Museum in Chicago, US. Due to damage sustained to this Egyptian mummy coffin, they're getting to open it up and come face to face with someone from around 500B.C. "We lifted the top off, so that we could actually get a better idea of what the condition is before we start treatments on the mummy itself," says J.P. Brown, a Field Museum conservator. J.P. Brown and three other scientists use clamps and pieces of metal to create a kind-of cradle so they can lift the fragile lid. They wear blue surgical gloves and slowly lift the contraption containing the coffin lid, walking it slowly to a table in a humidity-controlled lab . The museum has 30 complete human mummies from Egypt. It's preparing an exhibition named "Mummies: Images of the Afterlife," which starts in September 2015. "This is the mummy of a 14-year-old boy, we think it dates to about 2,500 years ago, so a little over 500 B.C." says J.P. Brown. "He was a 14-year-old boy and we know from the coffin that his name was 'Minirdis'. He was the son of Inarof, who was a fairly important priest of a god called Min in central Egypt." Scientists at the Chicago museum say they have to fix his burial mask and shroud and reconnect his detached feet. They also have to do work to shore up the coffin and mummy so they can withstand travel involved with moving the exhibition. The Field Museum has had the mummy since the 1920s, when they received him from the Chicago Historical Society. "People think mummies are kind of big and brutal and tough, but they're actually really, really fragile. So even a small quantity of inappropriate handling can do a great deal of damage," says J.P. Brown. "Somebody stood the mummy up on end, and what happened then was that the legs broke off at the knees and then the feet broke off at the ankles and rotated sideways. So, that's the majority of the damage - I think - that we're seeing here. The mummy slid all the way down the coffin." Inside the coffin there's the damage they expected, but J.P. Brown and his colleagues have also been able to learn a great deal about Egyptian lifestyle from this period. "I think opening up this coffin has given us a whole host of new information which we'll be able to use to better interpret the lifestyle in late period Egypt," he says. This mummy - for instance - has given experts an interesting insight into the embalming process. "The story that everybody knows about mummies is that they take your brain out through your nose. They take your organs out, they put them in canopic jars and they put the jars with the mummy. What happens in this later period - and this is one of the more interesting things that one starts to learn - is that the organs were taken out, preserved, wrapped into packets and then put back either into the abdominal cavity or into the chest cavity or between the legs." CT scans showed the boy's feet were detached sideways and partially unwrapped with his toes sticking out. His shroud and mask were torn and twisted sideways. Conservators plan to fix those too. "In the CT scan, we can see that inside the body there are packets of organs buried with him and possibly a scroll placed between his legs," says J.P. Brown. The coffin was missing wood at the mummy's left shoulder and toes and was loosely held together in areas. It wasn't in a sealed environment, which prompted worries that it would scatter to dust when exposed to the elements. You can license this story through AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/metadata/youtube/cf24557e38cc17731e579f0403c391bf Find out more about AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/HowWeWork,医学部受験生を応援します! 当サイトは医師を目指す医学部受験生のための「医学部受験生のための情報サイト」の姉妹サイトです。

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