14 September 2018
Seminar Leader: Dr Frances Di Lauro
My article could be associated with two different categories of WikiProjects as it is both a
tool in archaeology and a subbranch of the field of radiology.
Paleoradiology is the study of archaeological remains through the use of radiology
equipment and techniques, such as X-ray, CT (computer tomography) and micro-CT scans,
as well as MRI scans (magnetic resonance imaging). It is predominately used by
archaeologists and anthropologists as a method of uncovering mummified remains due to
its non-invasive manner. The integrity of the remains are still intact, whilst specialists are
able to discover artefacts or post-mortem damage on the body. Radiological images are also
able to contribute evidence about the person’s life such as age and cause of death. Although
this method has been around since the last 19th century, the use of paleoradiology has yet
to be determined as accurate due to inconsistencies revealed in images of mummified
Titles of Sections:
- History of Use
- Current Use in Archaeology
o Egyptian mummies
- Evaluation of Use
Sources and Annotations:
Brothwell, D & Chhem, R 2008, Paleoradiology: Imaging Mummies and Fossils, Springer,
This multi-authored textbook will be used in primarily in the “Techniques”, “History of Use”
and “Current Use in Archaeology” sections of the Wikipedia page. It provides detailed
information about the use of X-ray and CT and what information can be gained by each
scan. This source also has specific examples of the use of paleoradiology on Egyptians
remains from 1912-1976, providing an insight to the historical use of this imaging. The
different specialities of the authors of this book provides a unique insight into the current
use of paleoradiology for different modalities (such as anthropologists, archaeologists and
pathologists). This also adds reliability to the content of this source as it is written by
professionals in these fields.
Boni, T Chhem, R & Ruhil, F, 2004, ‘Diagnostic Paleoradiology of mummified tissue:
interpretation and pitfalls’, Canadian Association of Radiologists Journal, vol. 55, no.
4, pp. 218-227.
14 September 2018
Seminar Leader: Dr Frances Di Lauro
This article is beneficial as it provides a review of paleoradiology in terms of its accuracy and
role in providing archaeological evidence. This information will be used in the ‘Evaluation of
Use’ section due to its assessment of the ability of CT images to give accurate information
about the remains. The authors discuss how there are inconstancies between information
gathered about remains, such as age, and due to post-mortem trauma, there is an inability
to discover cause of death for many mummies. It will also be used in ‘Current use in
Archaeology’ section as it details the role of CT and general radiography in determining age
and sex in mummified remains, and also discusses the use of diagnostic imaging in types of
remains different to Egyptian mummies, such as bog bodies and ancient frozen remains.
Boni, T Chhem, R & Ruhil, F, 2004, ‘History of Paleoradiology: Early Published Literature,
1896-1921’, Candian Association of Radiologists Journal, vol. 55, no. 4, pp. 203-210.
This journal article will be used in the “History of Use” section due to its comprehensive list
of the use of radiographs from 1896-1921. The authors refer to reports from German,
English and French specialists from this era who used an early form of X-ray to capture
images of remains beneath their mummified coverings in a non-intrusive manner. The
explanation of how this imaging was used to determine bone age and past diseases will also
be used in this section of the Wikipedia page.
Chhem, R 2006, ‘Paleoradiology: Imaging Disease in Mummies and Ancient Skeletons’,
Skeletal Radiology, vol. 35, no. 11, pp. 803-804.
This source will be used in the ‘Current Use in Archaeology’ section of the Wikipedia page.
Chhem explains how CT is already used to create virtual reconstructions and endocasts of
mummified bodies and skulls for museums. He also mentions the use of micro-CT for
analysis of bones and teeth, which can provide a wealth of archaeological and
anthropological evidence about the person’s life. This source also critiques the lack of use of
paleoradiology by archaeologists and radiologists, suggesting that it could also be used to
study ancient diseases the remains were exposed to during their life.
Ernst, R Hoffman, H & Torres, W 2002, ‘Paleoradiology: Advanced CT in the Evlaution of
Nine Egyptian Mummies’, RadioGraphics, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 377-385.
This report provides great insight into the ability of radiological techniques, particularly
those of computer tomography (CT) scans, to digitally unravel mummified remains. The
information it conveys will be used in the ‘Techniques’ section of the Wikipedia page, as
Hoffman, Torres and Ernest give detailed overviews of the different CT methods, such as
axial and multiplanar, used to obtain images which are beneficial to both radiologists and
archaeologists. As such, this source will also be used in the ‘Current use in Archaeology’
section due to its examples of nine Egyptian mummies, one of which is hypothesised to be
the lost remains of Ramesses I. This report will be a beneficial and reliable source because of
the qualifications of the authors, all of whom have doctorates in this field, and due to its
publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
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