UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Technical note: Terahertz imaging of ancient mummies and bone


Oehrström, L; Bitzer, A; Walther, M; Rühli, Frank J (2010). Technical note: Terahertz imaging of ancient mummies and bone. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 142(3):497-500.

Abstract

Ancient mummified soft-tissues are a unique source to study the evolution of disease. Diagnostic imaging of such historic tissues is of foremost interest in paleoanthropology or paleopathology, with conventional x-ray and computed tomography (CT) being the gold-standard. Longer wavelength radiation in the far-infrared or Terahertz region allows diagnostic close-to-surface tissue differentiation of bone morphology while being harmless to human cells. The aim of this study is to show the feasibility and the morpho-diagnostic impact of THz imaging of historic remains. Images of an artificially embalmed ancient Egyptian human mummy hand, an artificially embalmed ancient Egyptian mummified fish and a macerated human lumbar vertebra were obtained by THz-pulse imaging and compared with conventional X-ray and CT images. Although conventional x-ray imaging provides higher spatial resolution, we found that THz-imaging is well-suited for the investigation of ancient mummified soft tissue and embalming-related substances / wrappings. In particular, bone and cartilaginous structures can be well differentiated from surrounding soft-tissues and bandage-wrappings by THz imaging. Furthermore, THz-pulse imaging also measures the time-delay of the pulsed signal when passing through the sample, which provides supplementary information on the optical density of the sample that is not obtained by X-ray and CT. Terahertz radiation provides a completely non-invasive diagnostic imaging modality for historic dry specimens. We anticipate this modality also to be used for detection of hidden objects in historic samples such as funerary amulets still in situ in wrapped mummies, as well as potentially for the identification of spectral signatures from chemical substances, e.g., in embalming essences.

Ancient mummified soft-tissues are a unique source to study the evolution of disease. Diagnostic imaging of such historic tissues is of foremost interest in paleoanthropology or paleopathology, with conventional x-ray and computed tomography (CT) being the gold-standard. Longer wavelength radiation in the far-infrared or Terahertz region allows diagnostic close-to-surface tissue differentiation of bone morphology while being harmless to human cells. The aim of this study is to show the feasibility and the morpho-diagnostic impact of THz imaging of historic remains. Images of an artificially embalmed ancient Egyptian human mummy hand, an artificially embalmed ancient Egyptian mummified fish and a macerated human lumbar vertebra were obtained by THz-pulse imaging and compared with conventional X-ray and CT images. Although conventional x-ray imaging provides higher spatial resolution, we found that THz-imaging is well-suited for the investigation of ancient mummified soft tissue and embalming-related substances / wrappings. In particular, bone and cartilaginous structures can be well differentiated from surrounding soft-tissues and bandage-wrappings by THz imaging. Furthermore, THz-pulse imaging also measures the time-delay of the pulsed signal when passing through the sample, which provides supplementary information on the optical density of the sample that is not obtained by X-ray and CT. Terahertz radiation provides a completely non-invasive diagnostic imaging modality for historic dry specimens. We anticipate this modality also to be used for detection of hidden objects in historic samples such as funerary amulets still in situ in wrapped mummies, as well as potentially for the identification of spectral signatures from chemical substances, e.g., in embalming essences.

Citations

23 citations in Web of Science®
29 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

4 downloads since deposited on 26 Jul 2010
0 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Evolutionary Medicine
04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Anatomy
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:July 2010
Deposited On:26 Jul 2010 08:42
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 14:12
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0002-9483
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.21292
PubMed ID:20544977
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-35197

Download

[img]
Filetype: PDF - Registered users only
Size: 454kB
View at publisher

TrendTerms

TrendTerms displays relevant terms of the abstract of this publication and related documents on a map. The terms and their relations were extracted from ZORA using word statistics. Their timelines are taken from ZORA as well. The bubble size of a term is proportional to the number of documents where the term occurs. Red, orange, yellow and green colors are used for terms that occur in the current document; red indicates high interlinkedness of a term with other terms, orange, yellow and green decreasing interlinkedness. Blue is used for terms that have a relation with the terms in this document, but occur in other documents.
You can navigate and zoom the map. Mouse-hovering a term displays its timeline, clicking it yields the associated documents.

Author Collaborations