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Three-dimensional model of an ancient Egyptian falcon mummy skeleton

Anton Du Plessis (Central Analytical Facilities, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa.)
Ruhan Slabbert (Central Analytical Facilities, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa.)
Liani Colette Swanepoel (Department of Ancient Studies, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa.)
Johan Els (Centre for Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing, Central University of Technology, Bloemfontein, South Africa.)
Gerrie J Booysen (Centre for Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing, Central University of Technology, Bloemfontein, South Africa.)
Salima Ikram (Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Psychology and Egyptology, American University in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt.)
Izak Cornelius (Department of Ancient Studies, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa.)

Rapid Prototyping Journal

ISSN: 1355-2546

Article publication date: 15 June 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present the first detailed three-dimensional (3D) print from micro-computed tomography data of the skeleton of an ancient Egyptian falcon mummy.

Design/methodology/approach

Radiographic analysis of an ancient Egyptian falcon mummy housed at Iziko Museums of South Africa was performed using non-destructive x-ray micro-computed tomography. A 1:1 physical replica of its skeleton was printed in a polymer material (polyamide) using 3D printing technology.

Findings

The combination of high-resolution computed tomography scanning and rapid prototyping allowed us to create an accurate 1:1 model of a biological object hidden by wrappings. This model can be used to study skeletal features and morphology and also enhance exhibitions hosted within the museum.

Originality/value

This is the first replica of its kind made of an ancient Egyptian falcon mummy skeleton. The combination of computed tomography scanning and 3D printing has the potential to facilitate scientific research and stimulate public interest in Egyptology.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Funding for the project was provided by Stellenbosch University Subcommittees A and B. The micro-CT scanner at Stellenbosch University’s Central Analytical Facilities was acquired via the South African National Research Foundation equipment fund. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript. The authors thank Stellenbosch University and Central University of Technology for providing facilities. The kind cooperation of Iziko Museums of South Africa is acknowledged. Megan Spitzer from the Division of Birds, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, kindly verified the identification of the falcon. Carina Beyer and Eva Raal took the photographs of the falcon mummy and 3D print, respectively.

Citation

Du Plessis, A., Slabbert, R., Swanepoel, L.C., Els, J., Booysen, G.J., Ikram, S. and Cornelius, I. (2015), "Three-dimensional model of an ancient Egyptian falcon mummy skeleton", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 21 No. 4, pp. 368-372. https://doi.org/10.1108/RPJ-09-2013-0089

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited