Non-invasive spatial tissue discrimination in ancient mummies and bones in situ by portable nuclear magnetic resonance

Frank Jakobus Rühli, Thomas Böni, Juan Perlo, Federico Casanova, Maria Baias, Eduard Egarter, Bernhard Blümich

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Historic mummies and skeletons have been investigated extensively by modern diagnostic imaging using computed tomography. But magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has never been applied successfully to mummies in a non-invasive way without tissue rehydration. The aim of this study is to show the feasibility and diagnostic impact of mobile MR technology to historic human tissues. The natural glacier mummy Iceman, a mummified recent human cadaver, historic mummified body parts, historic bones, and living volunteers have been analysed by non-invasive, single sided NMR with the NMR-MOUSE®. We acquired high-resolution depth profiles and T2 relaxation curves of the head region of the Iceman mummy in situ in the storage room at the Museum and of the cadaver in the hospital. A spatial differentiation of surface ice layer, cutis, and skull bone up to a depth of 5 mm was possible. In ancient Egyptian mummified specimens, the thickness of a fingernail and a differentiation of a single bandage layer versus the skin underneath were possible. A comparison of depth profiles through different foreheads of mummies, skulls, and living people gives strong evidence, that single-sided NMR with the NMR-MOUSE is a non-invasive technique to determine bone density. Our results demonstrate for the first time the feasibility of non-clinical MRI to visualize historic human tissues in a non-invasive approach.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)257-263
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Cultural Heritage
    Volume8
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2007

    Fingerprint

    diagnostic
    Bone
    discrimination
    Nuclear magnetic resonance
    Tissue
    Magnetic resonance
    Imaging techniques
    museum
    Glaciers
    Museums
    Ice
    Tomography
    evidence
    Skin
    Nuclear Magnetic Resonance
    Historic
    In Situ
    Discrimination
    Mummies
    Skull

    Keywords

    • Anatomy
    • Bone density
    • Glacier mummy
    • Iceman
    • Magnetic resonance
    • NMR-MOUSE

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
    • Conservation
    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Anthropology
    • History

    Cite this

    Non-invasive spatial tissue discrimination in ancient mummies and bones in situ by portable nuclear magnetic resonance. / Rühli, Frank Jakobus; Böni, Thomas; Perlo, Juan; Casanova, Federico; Baias, Maria; Egarter, Eduard; Blümich, Bernhard.

    In: Journal of Cultural Heritage, Vol. 8, No. 3, 01.01.2007, p. 257-263.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Rühli, Frank Jakobus ; Böni, Thomas ; Perlo, Juan ; Casanova, Federico ; Baias, Maria ; Egarter, Eduard ; Blümich, Bernhard. / Non-invasive spatial tissue discrimination in ancient mummies and bones in situ by portable nuclear magnetic resonance. In: Journal of Cultural Heritage. 2007 ; Vol. 8, No. 3. pp. 257-263.
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