Visualisation Techniques

CT of a mummified Incan boy. (to be seen in the exhibit)

Which techniques are available to investigate mummies without harming them?

Mummies can be investigated without harm by X-rays, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and terahertz imaging.


A choice of scientific articles based on current research done at the ZEM on ancient mummies.:

  • Wanek J., Székely G., Rühli F. X-ray absorption-based Imaging and its limitation in Differentiation of Ancient Mummified Tissue. Skeletal Radiol. 2011. 40:595-601.
  • Kaufmann I., Rühli F. J: Without informed consent: Ethics and ancient mummy research. J Med Ethics, 2010 Oct;36(10):608-13.
  • Oehrstroem L., Bitzer, A., Walther M., Rühli F. Terahertz imaging of ancient mummies and bone. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2010 Jul;142(3):497-500
  • Papageorgopoulou C., Kuhn C., Ziegler U, Rühli F.:Diagnostic morphometric validity of Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy in Osteoarcheology. Intern J Osteoarcheol, 2009.
  • Papageorgopoulou C., Xirotiris N.I., Iten P.X., Baumgartner M.R., Schmid M., Rühli F.: Indications of Embalming in Roman Greece by physical, chemical and histological analysis. J Archeol Sci, 36: 35-42, 2009.
  • Rühli F., von Waldburg H., Nielles-Vallespin S., Böni T., Speier P.: Clinical magnetic resonance imaging of ancient dry mummies without rehydration. JAMA, 298: 2618-2620, 2007.
  • Rühli F., Böni T., Perlo J., Casanova F., Baias M., Egarter Vigl E., Blümich B.: Non-invasive spatial tissue discrimination in ancient mummies and bones in situ by portable nuclear magnetic resonance. J Cult Her, 8: 257-263, 2007.
  • Münnemann K., Böni T., Blümich B., Colacicco G., Rühli F.: Non-invasive 1H and 23Na nuclear magnetic resonance imaging of ancient Egyptian human mummified tissue. Magn Reson Imag, 25: 1341-1345, 2007.
  • Rühli F.J., Chhem R.K., Böni T.: Diagnostic paleoradiology of mummified tissues: interpretation and pitfalls. Can Assoc Radiol J 55: 218-227, 2004
  • Böni T., Rühli F.J., Chhem R.K.: History of Paleoradiology: early published literature, 1896-1921. Can Assoc Radiol J, 55: 203-210, 2004.
  • Rühli F.J., Hodler J., Böni T.: CT-guided biopsy – A new diagnostic method for paleopathological research. Am J Phys Anthropol, 117: 272-275, 2002.
  • Rühli F.J., Böni T.: Radiological aspects and interpretation of post mortem artefacts of ancient Egyptian mummies from Swiss collections. Int J Osteoarchaeol, 10: 153-157, 2000.
  • Hawass Z., Shhafik M., Rühli F. et al.: Computed Tomographic Evaluation of Pharaoh Tutankhamun, ca. 1300 BC. Ann Serv Antiq Egypt, 81: 159-174, 2007 (published in 2009).
  • “DEATH OF THE ICEMAN”. National Geographic USA, 2008.
  • „KING TUT’S FINAL SECRETS“. National Geographic USA, 2005.