Mummy mia! Scans reveal Egyptian secrets

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New hospital scanning techniques have revealed details about the mummified corpse of a 3,000-year Egyptian female singer, without opening her casket.

The images, which go on display for the first time today at Chicago's Oriental Institute Museum, show the remains of Meresamun - a singer priestess at a temple in Thebes in 800BC. The scans may help settle a debate among Egyptologists about the sex lives of such singers.

Meresamun was buried in an elaborately decorated casket which has never been opened. It bears her name, her role as a singer and the inscription "she lives for Amun" (an Egyptian god).

Dr Emily Teeter, from the museum, said: "There is ongoing scholarly debate about whether women who held the title Singer in the Interior of the Temple were, on account of their temple duties, celibate. One specific goal of the most recent CT examination was to determine whether Meresamun had given birth. The evidence was inconclusive."

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