Medical imaging has widely been used in the study of human remains since the discovery of X-rays. Nowadays computed tomography (CT) has become the primary means of studying mummified bodies. It has been extensively used to examine Egyptian mummies, the Similaun Man, and, in some cases, Peruvian mummies. We describe the use of spiral CT to study three Peruvian mummies which belong to The National Museum of Anthropology and Ethnology of Florence, Italy (object #2994, #3076, #3078). The mummy #2994 shows the most interesting finding. In correspondence of the left renal lodge there is an oval object with metallic density which has an axial diameter of 1 cm and a length of 1.5 cm. The ancient Peruvians did not introduce amulets or other objects into natural cavities of the mummies and the caliper of the foreign body is compatible with a bullet of fire arms common at that time. Thus, we can advocate a violent death of this mummy. The mummy #3078 has a disconnected skeleton and no parenchymal remains. The presence of included teeth suggest that the mummy was an adolescent. The mummy #3076, an about 20 years old female, underwent autopsy more than 10 years ago which ascertained the presence of a Chagas disease in chronic phase. CT examination shows the damages produced by the autopsy to the thoracic and abdominal walls and no traces of the internal organs. In conclusion, our observations confirm the ability of CT to nonivasively, thus non-destructively, examine human remains.
L'impiego della diagnostica per immagini nella paleopatologia / Natale Villari; Piero Mannucci; Leonardo Capaccioli; Lapo Sali. - In: ARCHIVIO PER L'ANTROPOLOGIA E LA ETNOLOGIA. - ISSN 0373-3009. - STAMPA. - 135:(2005), pp. 251-258.