Mummies are one of the most fascinating relics of human history because they give us an idea of what the human body was like thousands of years ago. Unfortunately, many have been damaged over the last 100 years thanks to mishandling by researchers who didn't know any better. They've gotten better about handling mummies, but now researchers can make detailed recreations with the help of 3D printers.
In a video report from the AP, the news agency looks into how archaeologists and researches are combining 3D printing and X-ray scanners to recreate the bodies of mummies. In an attempt to not open the sarcophagi, researchers are now using 3D X-ray scanners to get a complete digital 3D model of what's inside these coffins. From there, they use 3D printers to recreate the contents so that they can study the physical makeup of these ancient people without actually disturbing the body.
If you're into Egyptian curses, you might see this as a way to finally get around the death traps that await those who open sarcophagi. Of course, it's more reasonable to expect that this is just a way to preserve the history that's contained within these ancient coffins. After all, a lot of history isn't lost due to time, but rather due to the mishandling artifacts.
Of course, mummies aren't the first antiquity to receive a little help from 3D printers. Late last year, Harvard's Semitic Museum had recreated the missing piece from a ceramic lion using a 3D printer. It was able to scan a complete lion that was on loan from another museum to fill in the missing piece on its own lion.
As it becomes riskier to handle ancient objects, you can probably expect more archaeologists and researchers to utilize 3D scanners and printers to recreate these relics without having to handle them. Its a win-win for everybody as archaeologists can continue their research, and we can continue to admire what the ancient world accomplished.[h/t: 3ders]