Roman mummies | Photo: PHOEBE A. HEARST MUSEUM OF ANTHROPOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY
Scientists are using the latest technology to discover the “origin” of Roman mummy portraits over 2,000 years old, dating back to when Rome ruled Egypt.
The paintings were found between December 1899 and April 1900. They are dated to the 1st-2nd century CE. and it is believed that they were kept in homes until the immortalized person died. The first portrait was discovered by British archaeologists in Tebtunis (now Umm el-Breigat) in Egypt. In total, nearly 1,000 Roman portraits have been excavated so far, which are in museums in various parts of the world.
Currently, an interdisciplinary team from Northwestern University, led by Professor Marc Walton, is conducting a two-year study on the “construction” of 15 paintings. Using non-invasive image analysis and scanning electron microscopy, scientists were able to capture various layers of the paintings. In addition, you can see the way the paint was painted with a brush and compare the pigments of the paintings with the dyes known at that time.