At the Oriental Institute, a CAT scan (below) breathes life into a nearly 3,000-year-old mummy. Curator Emily Teeter tells us what the coffin and its innards reveal.
“Well-mineralized bones show she’s well-nourished. She would have consumed bread, beer, wine, garlic, leeks, onions—kind of stinky—fish and sweetened cakes.”
“She has a cute overbite and beautiful teeth. However, the enamel is worn down terribly from bread grit. In another ten years, she could’ve died from periodontal disease.”
“Her death must have had an acute cause, like a heart attack in her late twenties. But [ancient Egyptians] take the heart out when preparing mummies, so we don’t know.”
“Some Egyptologists think that temple singers were celibate, akin to nuns. But my research very much disagrees with that. I was hoping to confirm that she bore children, but the forensicologist couldn’t tell. ”
“The Life of Meresamun: A Temple Singer in Ancient Egypt” opens at the Oriental Institute (1155 E 58th St) on Tuesday 10.
Before her life wrapped up (wah, wah), the Egyptian temple singer might’ve owned these objects.
Legal documents on display include divorce papers and a record of a man who defaulted on his mortgage and turned his land over to his ex-wife. As she might’ve said: Honey, denial ain’t just a river in Egypt! Ooh, snap.
Temple musicians played ritual rattles, which made a metallic clanging sound, and necklaces that chimed like papyrus in the marsh. How very Devendra Banhart.
Women typically gussied up using hand mirrors, combs, hairstyling tools and cosmetics from jars.
Ancient Egyptians prayed to oracle statues, asking them questions regarding their life and relationships. Some oracles would be placed on water, and they responded by moving in a certain direction. Strangely, the responses were more helpful than Oprah’s.