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X-rays power discoveries at Chicago's Field Museum
Date:5/7/2008

same Egyptian mummy revealed that the person was most likely a woman between 30 and 40 years old. Additionally, an image of a Peruvian false head (falsa cabeza) revealed the surprising presence of shells inside the artifact. Anthropology Collections Manager Chris Philip identified shells inside the stuffing of the mask. The clarity of the image allowed Invertebrates Collections Manager Jochen Gerber to specify two complete shells as Mesodesma donacium, an edible marine clam inhabiting the waters off the west coast of South America. This may help to answer the tantalizing question of why this false head was packed with shells. The shells appear to be a deliberate addition to the filling of the mask, possibly a food offering, but their meaning is unclear since no other specimens with added shells are known.

In another example, an image of the head of a statue of a king from a Sassanian palace in Iraq revealed metal pieces that had been added to the statue as part of a restoration that was probably performed in the late 1940s. Prior to capturing this image, Field Museum conservators had planned to treat the statue with water to soak out salts that had accumulated in it over the years while it was buried in the ground. If they had done so, the metal pieces would have rusted and the pressure from the rust would have caused the piece to break apart. Nowarmed with new informationthe conservators are developing a method to stabilize the artifact that does not involve immersing it in water.

For several decades, The Field Museum used x-ray film to capture images of its unique collections. With the CR system, the museums staff is realizing the many benefits of digital imaging technology in its day-to-day operations, said Laryssa Johnson, Marketing Director, Digital Capture Solutions, Carestream Health. For example, this systemtypically used by healthcare facilities worldwide to capture patient x-ray imagesis now producing high-quality digital images of t
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Contact: Greg Borzo
gborzo@fieldmuseum.org
312-665-7106
Field Museum
Source:Eurekalert  

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