Amun (or Amon or Ammon or Amen) was the ancient Egyptian God of the Sun and Air. A temple was dedicated to him at Karnak in Thebes, an ancient Egyptian city located along the Nile about 800km south of the Mediterranean. Today, its ruins lie within the modern Egyptian city of Luxor. The Chief Priest of that temple was Nesyamun, who had died in the temple 3,000 years ago!
After these many years, the scientists recently brought the mummified priest back to life, as they had learnt about his final wish before his demise, by replicating his voice with artificial vocal cords! Although the scientists have failed to understand his last wish because his voice being so faint and unclear, they have realised that Nesyamun had pronounced some words before leaving this world…
The Temple of Aman
The scientists at Royal Holloway, University of London, the University of York and Leeds Museum are hopeful that they would soon understand what the priest had uttered just before his death with the help of advanced technology. If they could recreate full sentences in Nesyamun’s voice by using computer models, then they would be able to fulfill his last wish after 3,000 years!
Meanwhile, the historians have claimed that Nesyamun used to live in the Temple of Aman. The priest, who is thought to have died in his 50s, had suffered from gum disease and severely deteriorating teeth. Later, he would have a severe allergic reaction. Most probably, he could not speak at the last stage because of an oral infection. He used to pronounce some words with a lot of difficulties. After his demise, his mummified body was kept in a room inside the temple.
Nesyamun’s mummified remains have been on display at the Leeds City Museum since 1823. The scientists have revealed many secrets of ancient Egypt after experimenting with this mummy. They have come to know about his disease by dissecting the mummy, and using X-rays! The latest research, published recently in the ‘Scientific Reports‘ journal, has triggered a sensation worldwide. The report stated that the voice recreation technique “has given us the unique opportunity to hear the sound of someone long dead“!
The report explained that scientists made him talk through a 3D printer Vocal Box! The vocal tract of humans is a passage where sound is filtered after it is produced at the larynx. Larynx is the organ that is commonly known as the Voice Box. However, one can only hear the sound once it passes through the vocal tract. To know Nesyamun’s last words that he had spoken 3,000 years ago, scientists copied the dimension of his vocal tract in a 3D printer, first. However, it is possible only if the soft cells of the deceased’s vocal track cord remains intact! The body of the Egyptian priest was preserved so nicely that the soft cells of his vocal track remained intact even after thousands of years. The scientists had checked the condition of his vocal track cells through a CT scan. Then, they artificially recreated Nesyamun’s voice in the larynx by copying his vocal tract in the 3D printer. He was heard to say a word, like ‘bed‘ or ‘bad‘, in a low voice. It was his last word!
Now, scientists are trying to find out the meaning of Nesyamun’s last word. John Schofield, the Professor of Archaeology at the University of York, has said that they are also trying to know his last sentence with the help of advanced technology. He stated that the researchers would use computer models in order “to generate words and string those words together to make sentences“. “It’s actually written on his coffin – it was what he wanted (the inscription on his sarcophagus reportedly stated that he has wanted the same). In a way, we have managed to make that wish come true,” added the Professor.
Perhaps, the world may soon be able to hear the 3,050-year-old Nesyamun speak!
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