Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Radiology as a Noninvasive Method

Bioarchaeologist Danielle Kurin teaches at the University of California at Santa Barbara as an assistant professor. In addition to teaching, Danielle Kurin has led multiple archeological field research projects as a principal investigator and director and has performed fieldwork on mummies. Her research interests include analyzing bone health and disease, remote sensing and imaging, and bone biology.

Mummies are preserved human or animal remains that contain non-bony tissue such as skin, muscles, ligament, and tendons - even though the person or animal might have died many thousands of years ago. A great deal of scientific and historical information can be deduced by analyzing these tissues. Today, mummies are important sources of information that help fulfill archaeology's unique quest to better understand and document the societies and peoples of the past.

Full autopsies are the only way to gain maximum in-depth knowledge from mummies. However, that process destroys the artifact and is considered a disrespectful technique to use on human remains. As a result, it is usually desirable that human mummies are kept intact. Most researchers prefer the use of non-invasive techniques such as radiology and endoscopy.

Radiology techniques, such as a CT scan, can help detect pathological signs and identify trauma and degenerative changes with accuracy. While radiology is beneficial, significant changes to certain organs due to displacement and dehydration can make evaluation challenging and prone to errors. CT images can also help reconstruct the skull model

 to serve as a reference through which a depiction of the mummy's face can be created in a process called craniofacial reconstruction CFR.