Reconstruction of a 3D Mummy Portrait from Roman Egypt

Alf Linney, João Campos and Ghassan Alusi

in Images and Artefacts of the Ancient World

Published by British Academy

Published in print May 2005 | ISBN: 9780197262962
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734533 | DOI:

Series: British Academy Occasional Papers

Reconstruction of a 3D Mummy Portrait from Roman Egypt

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This chapter focuses on the reconstruction of the portrait mummy of Hermione, which was excavated in 1911. Hermione lived during the reign of the Roman emperor Tiberius and belonged to the Greek immigrants of ancient Egypt who were descendants of the soldiers who have fought Alexander the Great and the Ptolomies. Hermione is believed to have been a school teacher, as her coffin portrait bears the Greek inscription ‘Hermione grammatike’. To reconstruct the face of Hermione, x-ray imaging processes were first employed to gain vital information without moving the painted cartonnage and wrappings of the mummy. Computed tomography and CT scanning technology was also used to provide a measurement of the 3D distribution of x-ray absorption coefficients throughout the scanned volume. This more advanced form of scanning allowed for the creation of 3D reconstruction of the volume. For the 3D reconstruction of the face of Hermione, four methods were necessary. These were the acquisition of 3D data on what lies inside the wrappings, the 3D reconstruction of the skull, the reconstruction of the soft tissues over the skull, and the application of texture to the reconstructed facial surface.

Keywords: reconstruction; portrait mummy; x-ray imaging processes; computed 3D reconstruction; reconstructed facial surface

Chapter.  4216 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Archaeological Methodology and Techniques

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