The child was probably a victim of pneumonia. The image was created from a CT Scan of the skull and a portrait that was found with the mummy.
When the Roman Empire ruled over Egypt, there was a funerary tradition of painting portraits and placing them over the face of the deceased after mummification.
To see how accurate these portraits were, researchers at the Institute of Pathology at the Academic Clinic Munich-Bogenhausen in Germany, performed a 3D reconstruction of a boy’s mummy.
The results were recently published in the journal PLOS One.
The mummified body belonged to a boy who probably died of pneumonia between 50 B.C. and 100 A.D. It was found by experts during the 1880s, near the pyramid of Hawara, in Egypt.
With the portrait and this information in hand, the team of scientists performed a CT scan of the mummy to study it digitally.
The study’s lead researcher, Andreas Nerlich, said the boy had “curled hair woven into two hair strands running from the crest to the ears, large eyes of brown color, a long, thin nose and a small mouth with full lips”.
The boy also had a necklace with a small medallion around his neck. The results showed that the portrait was quite accurate, but the artist made the child look older than he really was: he was between 3 or 4 years old when he died.
“The portrait shows slightly ‘older’ traits, which may have been the results of an artistic convention of that time,” Nerlich said.
However, this alone is not enough to know whether this was a common practice among ancient Egyptian artists.