CT checklist and scoring system for the assessment of soft tissue preservation in human mummies: application to catacomb mummies from Palermo, Sicily
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In this study we applied the recently developed "Checklist and Scoring System for the Assessment of Soft Tissue Preservation in Human Mummies" to catacomb mummies from Palermo, Sicily. Data from twenty-three full-body computed tomography (CT) examinations were available. These consisted of seventeen adults and six children dating from the late 18th to the late 19th centuries AD. Seventeen of these mummies were anthropogenically mummified, and six spontaneously. Based on the checklist and scoring system, soft tissue preservation varied between both mummification groups, among mummies with the same type of mummification, and within individual mummies at different anatomical locations. Checkpoints of the main category "A. Soft Tissues of Head and Musculoskeletal System" were clearly more frequent than checkpoints of the main category "B. Organs and Organ Systems". Among the anthropogenic mummies, intra-arterial filling achieved the highest preservation status of organs and organ systems. Despite the small sample size, the statistical evaluation showed significant differences between mummification types, with the highest soft tissue preservation found in anthropogenic mummies. Application of the "Checklist" allowed a standardized assessment and documentation of the soft tissue preservation of these mummies. The "Scoring System" facilitated a comparison among mummification groups and mummies by means of numeric values.
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