The weeks seem to be flying by at an alarming rate at the moment. I actually heard myself saying to someone today – ‘it’ll soon be Christmas’. When you have a publisher’s deadline on January 1st, that is not a thought you wish to dwell on, believe me!
This week we met up with a software company who work on producing public engagement tools for exhibitions – mainly in the form of interactive virtual autopsy tables which use CT and micro-CT data to enable viewers to visualise what is inside a body, or in our case, a mummy. We have been pondering the question of how to bring the enormous amount of data we have to the public in a format that is easily understandable and can be manipulated to give the viewer a sense of discovery as they view the contents of a mummy bundle for the first time. We were very impressed with the capabilities of the system in visualising what is essentially a massive, complex dataset. Watch this space!Today, Campbell Price, Curator of Ancient Egypt and the Sudan at the Manchester Museum, met with a student from the University of York interested in pursuing research on crocodile mummies. It was interesting to chat to a current York undergraduate and see how the Archaeology department has changed since I left in 2000. It was quite sad to hear that the small portable X-ray unit I used in 1999 to image the animal mummies from Bolton Museum is no longer there. This is not totally surprising with the quality of images that can be produced using clinical and veterinary equipment. When I think back to the summer I spent in a cupboard (literally) developing the images by hand, times really have changed where radiography is concerned. Now when we want images, the material comes to Manchester and we use state-of-the-art facilities to obtain the best possible images for our research. The meeting made me realise how lucky we are at Manchester to have the collaboration with the Central Manchester NHS Foundation Trust who are so accommodating of our bizarre research requests. I guess having a teaching hospital next door has it’s advantages!
I am pleased that a new generation of researchers are being encouraged to study animal mummies. Let’s hope that between us we can uncover some of their secrets!