After 3,000 years, Nesyamun has something to say. Once a high-ranking priest in Thebes during the reign of Ramses XI and a guest at Leeds (England) City Museum for 200 years, Nesyamun’s voice was heard once again, this time with the help of scientists and CT scans done at Leeds General Infirmary.
Mummy regains its voice with help from researchers, CT scan
Researchers say they were able to mimic his voice by recreating much of his vocal tract using medical scanners, 3D printing and an electronic larynx. The effect created “the sound that would come out of his vocal tract if he was in his coffin and his larynx came to life again,” David Howard, a co-author of the paper and a speech scientist at Royal Holloway, University of London, told the New York Times.
In a paper published recently by the journal Scientific Reports, the authors say the technique allowed them to produce a single sound—somewhere between the vowels in “bed” and “bad.”
In the words of Smithsonian magazine, the result is “brief and vaguely underwhelming.”
The model alone also isn’t enough to synthesize whole words or sentences, the authors said.
One of the researchers put an otherworldly spin on the project.
“While this has wide implications for both healthcare and 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,’ ” co-author professor Joann Fletcher of the archaeology department at the University of York said in a news release, noting “Nesyamun’s stated desire to have his voice heard in the afterlife in order to live forever.”
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