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Technology aids anthropologists in exciting ways (Part 1 of 2)

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Technology has affected society and its surroundings in a number of positive ways over the centuries, and now anthropologists and archaeologists are reaping the rewards of new technology in their study of human activity of the past.

Mummies removed from Egypt and Sudan that are on display at a new exhibition at the British Museum, were examined mainly with the help of medical scanners. This method was used in order to find out what they looked like, how they lived and how they died, without compromising them. The technology has helped researchers look through bandages and inside mummy cases that have never been opened, take images of amulets and statues stored with the body, and reproduce those objects for display at the exhibition. Researchers comment that the increase in precision with scanning technology has been a boon for research. "It used to be very difficult to work out the age of death within less than 20 or 30 years and now we are able to pinpoint it very precisely to within a couple of years,” said John Taylor, assistant keeper of the museum's Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan.

Scanners and X-rays have been used since the 1960s to examine mummies and cases for museum's collections, but recent advances have allowed researchers much more detail then before, such as the ability to create 3D visualizations. This has not only helped advance analysis and study of the specimens, but has also assisted in the preservation of discoveries. The mummies used for the exhibition at the British Museum span from 3,500 BC to 700 AD.

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