On November 18 2016 the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities will open their new Egyptian galleries to the public after 17 months of research and renovation. One of the main highlights is an advanced 3D visualisation experience that supported the researchers to do exceptional discoveries. Now it will allow museum visitors to unwrap the mummies and continue the exploration on their own.
The museum has, as part of the remodelling, in collaboration with the Swedish visualization company Interspectral, gone through an 3D X-ray scanning and visualization project, making it possible to reveal more findings and introduce them to museum visitors in the new exhibition.
Curators Dr. Lara Weiss and Prof. dr. Maarten Raven at Dutch National Museum of Antiquities, explain: “It was a big surprise that the new interactive visualization technology provided by Interspectral made many new details visible, as the mummies had been scanned before. The most exciting discovery was that wrapped inside the larger adult crocodile mummy, were many baby crocodiles, whose existence were previously unknown to us.”
Egyptian 'giant crocodile' mummy is full of surprises
The most important revelation came from exploring the three-meter-long mummified Egyptian 'giant crocodile', one of the finest animal mummies in the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities, which turned out to be literally filled with surprises. A previous scan had already indicated that the giant crocodile was in fact two adolescent animals, but now evidence of fifty baby crocodiles being wrapped together in the exterior bindings of palm rope holding two larger crocodiles in place, has been revealed. Although baby crocodiles have been found wrapped inside other mummies, only one parallel is known wrapped in this particular way.
Leonie van Esser, exhibition manager at the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities says: “The visitors now can explore the mummies themselves by researching the scans and virtually peeling the wrappings away. This active, hands-on approach arouses curiosity and enriches the visitors’ museum experience – one of the most intriguing aspects of ancient Egyptian culture is at their fingertips.”
The findings are highly interesting for the research community and have been submitted to a high impact academic journal. The paper describes how high resolution CT scans, in combination with the interactive visualization tool Inside Explorer, have been critical to undertake the new research.
“We are very proud to see that our visualization technology can support the amazing research team at Rijksmuseum Oudheden in their work. Most importantly giving visitors to the new galleries a unique interactive experience, getting their hands on the actual research findings”, says Thomas Rydell, CEO of Interspectral.
Ankhhor – The priest mummy
In addition to the crocodile mummy, the mummy of the priest Ankhhor has been explored. Thanks to the new visualization, details about his pathology were made clear, giving vital clues about his age and health, as well as details of how the mummification took place and specifically the processes it entailed.
A unique interactive experience
Starting on November 18, museum visitors can perform an interactive virtual autopsy on the crocodile mummy and the mummy of the Egyptian priest Ankhhor. Using touch screens, they can examine the mummies layer by layer, learning about their age, physical features, and the mummification process. The amulets placed inside the linen wrappings with the mummies can also be examined in detail and from all sides in 3D.
Interspectral creates intuitive interactive 3D visualization experiences for education, training and entertainment based on reality capture 3D data. We enable our customers to analyse, visualize and publish complex volumetric and surface 3D-data. Our technology is today used by customers world-wide.