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X-Rays reveal secrets about ancient Peruvian mummy's history

Doctors at Driscoll Children's Hospital were hoping to take the wraps off some of the mysteries hidden inside an Peruvian mummy this morning. This archaelogical investigation was not done with trowels and shovels: this case, the digging was done with X-rays.

X-Rays reveal secrets about ancient Peruvian mummy's history
This 2,000-year-old mummy was taken to Driscoll Children's Hospital today for X-rays that can reveal information 
about its life in ancient times [Credit: Corpus Christi Museum of Natural History and Science]
"She was not my average patient!" said Suzi Beckwith, Diagnostic X-ray Coordinator at Driscoll Children's Hospital

For the past 60 years, the mummy has been kept at the Corpus Christi Museum of Natural History and Science. However now that museum wants to send the mummy back to Peru. They are trying to learn as much as they can about her, and X-rays can reveal a lot.

The museum already knows some of the mummy's past from records. They believe it is from the Inca Empire of Peru. When she was alive, the girl was 6- to 8-years-old girl, but that was back as far as 2,000 years ago.

Today, the museum and the hospital came together to see what secrets she is hiding inside.

"Because of the size of the mummy, I thought it was a baby," Beckwith said. "But looking at the X-rays, you see her legs are actually tucked in. So she's not a baby. she's a little girl.

X-rays can confirm gender, age, and even cause of death.

X-Rays reveal secrets about ancient Peruvian mummy's history
The X-rays showed the mummy's bones are in good condition, and can confirm other things like gender, age, 
and even cause of death [Credit: Corpus Christi Museum of Natural History and Science]
"We're looking for things that can help us give information to anthropologists in Peru, and then hopefully confirm cultural group that she belongs to, said Jillian Becquet, Collections Manager at the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History.

Little is known about the girl's ancient life, where the mummy is from, or whether she was taken out of Peru legally.

Records do show the mummy was exhibited at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, before arriving at the Corpus Christi Museum of Natural History and Science in 1957. The mummy was one of the museum's first artifacts. However, it was removed from display in the 1980s, and has sat in storage ever since.

"This person needs to be where her family buried her," Becquet said.

Now, the museum is trying to learn more about her past and identity, working with the Peruvian Embassy with the goal of sending the mummy home. 

"Whatever group was around her chose to do this very caring thing, to wrap her purposefully and bury her," Becquet said. "Somebody along the way disrespected that, and so we want that to be restored."

From here, Peruvian anthropologists will look over the data to verify the findings. As for if or when this mummy will be returned, will be up to the Peruvian government to decide.

Author: Jane Caffrey | Source: KrisTV [Septembter 18, 2017]

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