Priestess of Amun

by Eti Bonn-Muller

An in-depth examination of Meresamun, an ancient Egyptian, and her world

“Everyone loves mummies. They’re beautiful, a little bit scary, totally different from anything we know of in our everyday lives—and they’re magical, literally magical. The whole idea was to preserve the body so the ka and ba, the different elements of the soul, could be reunited with it in the afterlife…Mummies really are strange and exotic things.”
Gil Stein, director of the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago

ARCHAEOLOGY’s March/April 2009 cover story, “A Mummy’s Life,” tells of new research on the mummified remains of an Egyptian priestess named Meresamun who lived in Thebes around 800 B.C. Ensconced in a skintight coffin made of linen and plaster for almost 3,000 years, the issue’s “cover girl” is also the highlight of an exhibition, The Life of Meresamun: A Temple Singer in Ancient Egypt, on view at the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute Museum through December 6. In advance of the show, Meresamun was scanned using a state-of-the-art Philips Healthcare 256-slice Brilliance iCT scanner. She is the only mummy ever subject to such advanced technology.

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