Using a computer – Thanks to the skills of artists (and psychics) who work on cold case investigations, people have a chance to see what the University of Chicago’s mummy may have looked like when she was alive and living in Egypt.

A Chicago forensic artist and a police artist in Maryland prepared the images, which depict a woman as she would have looked in 800 B.C. Both artists, though working independently, got strikingly similar results.

In 2008, radiologist Michael Vannier began the process with two exhaustive CT examinations of the mummy they call Meresamun at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Museum curator Emily Teeter says, “A huge number of CT scans of the skull were used to create a 3-D digital model of Meresamun’s skull. Those files were given to forensic artists who use methods employed in cold case investigations where skeletal remains need to be identified.”

In the traditional forensic method, layers of fat, muscle and flesh are built up on the skull. Starting with a three-dimensional image of the skull created from multiple CT scans, Chicago artist Joshua Harker used a computer program called a tissue depth marker method to calculate the contours of the face and recreate Meresamun

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