This was now to be followed by the imaging of a Peruvian mummy, probably originating from between the 11th and the 15th centuries When we entered the secure area of the Fraunhofer Development Center X-ray Technology EZRT (a division of Fraunhofer IIS), Professor Tomas Sauer was waiting for us. Sauer leads the research group for knowledge-based image processing at Fraunhofer EZRT and is Professor of Mathematics and Digital Image Processing at the University of Passau. He initiated the examination of the mummy, which had been stored for many years in the Linden Museum’s collection in Stuttgart. Sauer wanted to work with Fraunhofer IIS to study the inside of this exciting and admittedly rather creepy-looking object.
As the doors of the 3D CT system opened, we saw something none of us had expected. When we’d heard that this was about a mummy, we thought it would be a body wrapped in bandages. What we saw, though, was an object that looked like a large sack stuffed with cotton. Part of it was tied off and looked like a head that had been placed on top of the sack. We could make out the suggestion of facial features, such as a nose, and there was braided hair on the head. Astonished, we asked Sauer what exactly we were looking at. He explained that we had been imaging an Egyptian mummy, and that the mummy in front of us was a Peruvian mummy. In Peru, mummies did not have their organs removed before being wrapped in bandages, Instead, they were preserved with all their organs intact in linen sacks stuffed with cotton.