I was doing some Googling on ancient Egypt in the news and came across an interesting article entitled, “Mummy’s Sinus Infection, Tooth Problems Revealed by CT Scans”. The piece discusses how high resolution CT scanning technology has developed over twenty years and how it has impacted research.
In 1859, James Ferrier brought a mummified man in his 20’s from Thebes to Montreal. Until recent technological developments, the health condition of this unknown man was unclear. With advances in CT scanning, researchers have now been able to conclude that their mysterious mummy may not have died of age but of an untreatable sinus infection caused by tooth decay; the mummy had a mouth full of cavities and other tooth ailments. With high resolution CT scanning, researchers were able to see that these cavities had been packed with medicated linen to prevent food particles from getting trapped and to help ease the pain.
Modern day dentists believe that this severe condition would have been very painful and very hard to deal with during those times and even today with modern medicine. Because infections associated with the teeth cause many health problems it is believed that this is what cause the ancient Egyptians fatal sinus infection.
Though a scan was done in the 1990’s of this mummy, the resolution wasn’t high enough to properly identify the “fillings” in his teeth. Today, CT scans are six times more powerful than they were twenty years ago. High reslution scanning may help shed light on other cases, like the one of the mysterious man from Thebes with bad teeth, and may teach us more about the lives of people from the past.
This article sparked my interest because it talked baot medical practices of Ancient Egypt, stating that evidence of dentistry goes back to the time of the Great Pyramids. I think it is interesting to see how the ancient people dealt with health risks that we still experience in modern society and compare treatment methods.
I do not know much about ancient Egyptian medicine but I do know their diets consisted of coarsely ground grain that was had negative effects on their teeth. I am interested in learning about other health concerns that may have been negatively effected by the everyday lifestyles of the ancient Egyptians. To survive as a group of people, the Egyptians clearly knew how to treat medical issues, or else they wouldn’t have been such a successful society as we know of them today.