Ever asked yourself what it would sound like if you heard a mummy speaking. If you have, it is now possible to hear a mummy speaking. This owes to the magic of additive manufacturing and CT technology. The technology has allowed the recreation of the audible voice of an old Egyptian who died centuries ago.
A group of engineers, medical physicists, and engineers Germany and the UK utilized CT to estimate the accurate dimensions of the sounding tract. This is for the Egyptian 3,000-year-old mummified Nesyamun’s body. The experts utilized the information to produce an additively manufactured print of the voice of the vocal path of the mummy. After that, they connected the pint to an electronic larynx.
The process enabled them to replicate the unique voice and tone of the voice of the late Nesyamun.
The authors wrote about this led directed by David Howard, PhD, from the University of London: “This innovative interdisciplinary collaboration has produced the unique opportunity to hear the vocal tract output of someone long dead by virtue of their soft-tissue preservation and new developments in technology, digital scanning, and 3D printing.”
Before the task, Howard and co-workers created a method to design 3D-printed prints of the musical stretches of living people. They used the prints to imitate their sounds. For the present research, they increased upon this technique so they can incorporate the vocal tones of the dead.
Their technique could just work if the legend’s appropriate soft tissues in the vocal path was logically unimpaired. For Nesyamum, x-ray pictures and CT scans done on the mummy during the 20th century proved that the detailed mummification method saved the mandible and sufficient spare pieces of the throat and larynx for an authentic re-creation of the sounding tract form.
The experts obtained fresh pictures of the whole mummy by use of multidetector CT scanner. This includes an improved vocal tract visualization. Then they utilized open-source 3D medical picture processing software to fragment the CT scans and turn the data into a practical 3D print.
Also, they estimated positioning for parts of the soft mouth and tongue that were not there.
“While this approach has wide implications for heritage management/museum display, its relevance conforms exactly to the ancient Egyptians’ fundamental belief that ‘to speak the name of the dead is to make them live again,” wrote the authors.
Nesyamun was alive in the period of Pharaoh Ramses XI’s reign that started from 1099 BC. The voice of Nesyamun is assumed to have served a crucial part in Egypt’s society. His duties included chanting, reading texts, singing everyday liturgy. The mummified body was initially uncovered in 1824. It is presently displayed exhibited at Leeds City Museum.
“Given Nesyamun’s stated desire to have his voice heard in the afterlife in order to live forever, the fulfillment of his beliefs through the synthesis of his vocal function allows us to make direct contact with ancient Egypt by listening to a sound from a vocal tract that has not been heard for over 3,000 years, preserved through mummification and now restored through this new technique,” concluded the authors.