LOS ANGELES, June 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Using 21st-century technology to help researchers understand more about an 18th-century mummy, an adult male mummy born in 1765 in Vac, Hungary received a non-invasive computerized tomography (CT) scan at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center on June 23. The scan of the Vac mummy, Michael Orlovits, was organized by the California Science Center in collaboration with the Reiss-Engelhorn Museums (REM) in Mannheim, Germany to help determine the mummy's state of preservation and any disease or injury he may have had.
Orlovits is one of a three-member mummy family on loan from the Hungarian Natural History Museum, Budapest, as part of the Mummies of the World exhibition, the largest collection of mummies and related artifacts ever assembled, making its world debut July 1 at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.
This groundbreaking exhibition, brought to the United States by American Exhibitions, Inc. (AEI), in association with the REM, reveals how the scientific study of mummies provides a window into the lives of ancient peoples and civilizations from around the world.
"CT scans and other science tools represent the gold standard in studying mummies, helping us to learn much more about how people lived and died," says Dr. Heather Gill-Frerking, director of science and education for the Mummies of the World exhibition and the scientific research curator for the German Mummy Project (GMP), based at the REM. "These techniques are also non-invasive and provide a complete three-dimensional archive record, which also allows us to preserve the mummies for future generations."
"We are honored to have been selected by the Reiss-Engelhorn Museums, and hope that our advanced technology will be useful in their studies," says Dr. Barry D. Pressman, chairman of Cedars-Sinai's S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center.
The Orlovits family is part of a group of 18th-century mummies discovered in Vac, Hungary, in 1994. Reconstruction of parts of a Dominican church just north of Budapest uncovered two long-forgotten burial crypts dating back to 1674 and sealed in 1838.
Michael Orlovits, Veronica Orlovits (born 1770) and their son Johannes (born 1800) were among those preserved by the cool, dry air of the crypt and the oil from the pine shavings that lined some of the coffins. Extensive research, including DNA analysis, revealed that Veronica Orlovits suffered from severe tuberculosis. The scan conducted at Cedars-Sinai on Michael Orlovits will help reveal if he suffered from the same disease, in addition to any other diseases or injuries. Without invasive techniques, the scan also will reveal the exact condition of preservation of the mummy over the past 245 years.
Mummies of the World is a highly distinguished project that has been years in the making for AEI, working with 20 world-renowned museums and collections in seven countries to bring to the U.S. a never-before-seen collection of mummies and related artifacts from South America, Europe, Asia, Oceania and Egypt. Its remarkable specimens include one of the oldest mummy infants ever discovered; a mummified family (Orlovits family) from Vac, Hungary; a German nobleman discovered in a family crypt by descendants; and intentionally preserved Egyptian animal and human mummies.
This important exhibition, making a three-year, seven-city tour around the country beginning in Los Angeles at the California Science Center on July 1, dispels some of the notions and misconceptions about mummies and uses science tools to reach across time, demonstrating how scientific methods can illuminate the historic record and enhance our knowledge about cultures around the world. It also shows that mummification – both through natural processes and intentional practices – has taken place all over the globe, from the hot desert sands of South America to remote European moors and bogs.
Mummies of the World is a ticketed event and requires a timed entry. Advance reservations are highly recommended. Tickets are available to be purchased online at www.californiasciencecenter.org or by calling 323-SCIENCE (323-724-3623).
More information about the exhibition is online: www.mummiesoftheworld.com.
American Exhibitions, Inc. is one of the leading exhibition producers in the United States, specializing in world-class touring exhibitions for science centers and museums. It is a longstanding member of the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) and the American Association of Museums (AAM). http://www.americanexhibitions.com
Reiss-Engelhorn Museums, an internationally acclaimed complex in Mannheim, Germany, has been one of the major venues for exhibitions in Europe in the realms of archeology and world cultures. The museum houses a collection of 1.2 million objects in more than 300,000 square feet of exhibition space. http://www.rem-mannheim.de/
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the nation's top hospitals, and is also a leader in medical research, education and community service. The medical center's S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center is renowned for the expertise of its specialists in imaging and interventional radiology.
The California Science Center is a dynamic destination where families, adults and children can explore the wonders of science through interactive exhibits, live demonstrations, innovative programs and awe-inspiring films. www.californiasciencecenter.org
SOURCE Mummies of the World