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Radiological findings in an ancient Iranian salt mummy (Chehrābād ca. 410-350 BC)


Öhrström, Lena M; Seiler, Roger; Böni, Thomas; Aali, Abolfazl; Stöllner, Thomas; Rühli, Frank J (2015). Radiological findings in an ancient Iranian salt mummy (Chehrābād ca. 410-350 BC). Skeletal Radiology, 44(6):811-821.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To study pathologies, peri- and postmortal alterations as well as the general preservation state of an ancient Iranian salt mummy. MATERIALS AND METHODS Several mummified remains from two different time periods (1500-2500 BP) were found in the Chehrābād salt mine in Iran. Computed tomography was performed on Salt Man #4 (410-350 BC), the best preserved out of the six salt mummies (Siemens, Sensation 16; 512 × 512 matrix; 0.75-5 mm slice thickness, 240-mA tube current, 120-kV tube voltage, and 0.976-mm pixel size). RESULTS Radiological analyses showed an excellent state of preservation of an adolescent body. Several normal variants such as aplasia of the frontal sinus as well as a rare congenital deformation of the 5th vertebral body (butterfly vertebra) have been observed. The individual shows multiple fractures, which is consistent with the theory that he died due to a collapse in the ancient salt mine. CONCLUSIONS The salt preserved the soft tissue as well as parts of the inner organs remarkably well. However, further investigations including histology are needed to reveal additional details of the health status of this unique salt mummy.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To study pathologies, peri- and postmortal alterations as well as the general preservation state of an ancient Iranian salt mummy. MATERIALS AND METHODS Several mummified remains from two different time periods (1500-2500 BP) were found in the Chehrābād salt mine in Iran. Computed tomography was performed on Salt Man #4 (410-350 BC), the best preserved out of the six salt mummies (Siemens, Sensation 16; 512 × 512 matrix; 0.75-5 mm slice thickness, 240-mA tube current, 120-kV tube voltage, and 0.976-mm pixel size). RESULTS Radiological analyses showed an excellent state of preservation of an adolescent body. Several normal variants such as aplasia of the frontal sinus as well as a rare congenital deformation of the 5th vertebral body (butterfly vertebra) have been observed. The individual shows multiple fractures, which is consistent with the theory that he died due to a collapse in the ancient salt mine. CONCLUSIONS The salt preserved the soft tissue as well as parts of the inner organs remarkably well. However, further investigations including histology are needed to reveal additional details of the health status of this unique salt mummy.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Evolutionary Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:7 February 2015
Deposited On:17 Feb 2015 13:48
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 12:10
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0364-2348
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00256-015-2103-y
PubMed ID:25662179

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