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Remains of Children

Model of child mummy skull.
Resin model of child mummy skull (KM 2003.01.0001, based on a CT-scan of mummy KM 1971.02.0179)

THE REMAINS OF CHILDREN FROM ROMAN EGYPT tell us something about the physical conditions in which children lived. The mummy, now on display in the Kelsey Museum in an installation approximating an original burial context, is of a young child from Roman Egypt. Scholars had studied the mummy from its external appearance and x-rays when it first came to Ann Arbor in 1971, but it wasn’t until 2002 that a student project to CT-scan the mummy revealed much that had been previously hidden. Read more about this project in the Kelsey Museum Newsletter and in a recent LSA Magazine article .

IMAGES OF THE MUMMY show a child (probably a boy) of one to two years of age with a slight build, whose body was damaged either before or during the embalming process. Perhaps the greatest surprise was the revelation that the child had six fingers on his left hand. This may well be the result of genetic complications from the unusual frequency of brother-sister marriage in the population of Roman Egypt, the reasons for which are still uncertain.

Photo of the mummy being scanned

The mummy's CT scan