London-based researchers have developed a new scanning technique capable of revealing what's written on the papyrus that mummy cases are made of, the BBC has reported.
Mummy cases, which lie between the Sarcophagi and mummified bodies, were made out of scrap papyrus and linen covered by plaster. The scrapped papyrus represent a vast source of knowledge for scientists to gain insight into day-to-day life in ancient Egypt.
However, before the new scanning technology, Egyptologists had to destroy the cases in order to access these writings.
"These masks constitute one of the best libraries we have of waste papyrus that would otherwise have been thrown away so it includes information about these individual people and their everyday lives," University College London professor Adam Gibson, who led the research project, told the BBC.
The writings on the 2,000-year-old scraps of papyrus were obscured by the plaster that holds the mummy cases together, but now scanning them with different kinds of light reveals the writing by making the ink glow.
“We now have a technology to both preserve those beautiful objects and also look inside them to understand the way Egyptians lived,” Dr. Kathryn Piquette of the University College London told the BBC.