Clipboard: Padihershef, Mass. General mummy, gets a closer look

Dr. Rajiv Gupta (left) and Mimi Leveque, a conservator from the Peabody Essex Museum, watch as a mummy that has been exhibited in the Massachusetts General Hospital's Ether Dome since the early 1800s enters a CT scanner for the first time (Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff)
Dr. Rajiv Gupta (left) and Mimi Leveque, a conservator from the Peabody Essex Museum, watch as a mummy that has been exhibited in the Massachusetts General Hospital's Ether Dome since the early 1800s enters a CT scanner for the first time (Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff)

The mummy named Padihershef that lives in the Ether Dome at Massachusetts General Hospital received a careful exam Monday evening, as hospital officials and a museum conservator began the process of analyzing the 2,500-year-old remains.

The group passed Padihershef—“Padi,” for short—through a CT scanner and planned to conduct X-rays in hopes of finding clues about the life and death of the stonecutter from Necropolis who may have been the first Egyptian mummy ever brought to the United States, Meghan E. Irons reports in today’s Boston Globe. The result will be a life-size model of the mummy. Irons writes:

In an MGH X-ray exam room this week, Signe Dahlquist, a radiologic technologist, typed his name on a computer: Mummy Padihershef.

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His date of birth was listed as Jan. 1, 0625.

“He’s so little,’’ marveled one of a trio of interns who came to see the mummy.

As images appeared on the screen, Gupta, who had scanned another mummy some time before, made his observations aloud.

“Already, there is a disconnect between his body and his head,’’ he said. “But what is holding up his head?’’ asked Leveque.

They found out later after the CT scans. A broomstick had been affixed to the back of the mummy’s head to his abdomen.

His chest was also caved in, and his hands reached downward and clasped below his waist. Gupta noted that his top jaw is intact, but the bottom half is pushed inward. His skull is whole and remnants of his brain, decayed through the years, remain, the doctor said.

Padihershef received a facelift a decade ago from Mimi Leveque, a conservator from Peabody Essex Museum who is involved in the current project as well. Leveque then worked to remove salt that had “wept” from the mummy’s face before it was displayed in a Springfield exhibit.

“It would be fair to guess he is probably getting more attention today than he ever got as an unmarried stonecutter. His life really is eternal,” she told David Arnold in 2003.

Some readers have wondered who will foot the bill for the expensive medical test. The work is being done with a $5,000 donation.

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