Inside Africa

Egypt’s mummies get virtually naked with CT scans

Story highlights

New CT scans help researchers "undress" a mummy virtually

The British Museum uses the same software employed by car companies to make 3-D models

Researchers can now approximate a mummy's age, cause of death and general health

CNN  — 

The urge to undress a mummy can be strong. In the 19th century, Egyptologists didn’t think twice about tearing off a mummy’s wrappings. Even Ramses the Great couldn’t avoid the indignity of being stripped bare in front of an audience of curious onlookers.

Today’s experts in the field know better.

“Certainly, it’s a damaging process, and you lose a lot of information and disturb the mummy itself. It’s also something that is no longer necessary with advancements in technology,” says Dr. Daniel Antoine, the curator of physical anthropology at the British Museum in London.