Mummies of animals have long been part of the deeply complex Egyptian religion. The still unearthed Labyrinth of Egypt was said to hold hundreds of crocodile mummies and hundreds more mummies of human beings.
But crocodile mummies aren’t that hard to find in the many tombs of the once-great culture. The crocodile was said the be the material incarnation of the god Sobek, much as Thoth was known as an stork-like bird and Horus was portrayed as a falcon. Egyptians didn’t worship crocodiles, but they considered large and ornate mummies of crocodiles as an offering to the great god, Sobek.
Scientists had a look recently at a croc mummy that more unusual than most; it was extremely large, possibly containing a monster reptile. But when they did a 3-D CT scan of the mummy at the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam, they found not only two full-grown crocodiles, but dozens of individually wrapped baby crocodiles. There are only a few of this kind of multi-croc mummies to be found in the world.
The Egyptians used all sorts of stuffing (linen, wood, rope and plant stems) to make the mummy take on the shape of a huge crocodile.
Since November, visitors to the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities can do a virtual autopsy on the 3,000-year-old mummy, using an interactive visualization tool. They also can do a post-mortem exam of an Egyptian priest. They can examine the ancient remains layer by layer, learning about the age at death, physical features, and the mummification process.
Every wonder what is really inside the pyramids of Giza and the surrounding area? There have been rumors for centuries of hidden chambers, filled with either precious scrolls or beautiful treasure. There even was a team that set out for Giza in the 1990s and found with ground-penetrating radar that there is a large rectangular, box-shaped, hollow anomaly hidden in the area in front of the Sphinx’s paws. No one has ever excavated the area, so no one knows if it’s a hidden chamber or not.
But it’s not the Sphinx, but the pyramids that soon will be investigated internally by the “Scan Pyramid” program, which is sponsored by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities. The scans and tests have been initiated, designed and coordinated by the Faculty of Engineering of Cairo and the French HIP Institute (Heritage, Innovation and Preservation). Cosmic particles, infrared thermography, photogrammetry, scanner and 3D reconstruction will be used to peer into and reconstruct what is inside of the pyramids. Researchers of international renown and three major universities, the Faculty of Engineering of Cairo University, Université Laval of Quebec and Nagoya University of Japan, will lend their expertise to the project.
The scanning project is due to start in early November. It will focus on on the site of Dahshur, about fifteen kilometers south of Saqqara: the South pyramid, called the Bent; and the North pyramid, called the Red, both reputaed to have been built by Snefru (2575 – 2551 BC). On the Giza plateau at about twenty kilometers from Cairo (see map), it will study the pyramids of Khufu (the Great Pyramid) and Khafre, said to be built by the son and grandson of Snefru. (Actually no one knows who built these specific pyramids, because the identifying factors are so vague and no actual names–except that of Khufu–have been found of any of the pyramids.)
The company Iconem plans to created a 3-D representation of the field of Giza using drones and photogrammerty, the since of making measurements from photographs.