Embalming the body

Canopic jars for storing the organs

Within the wooden coffin, cartonnage case and linen wrappings lies Nesperennub's body. It was embalmed using conventional ancient Egyptian methods. First his brain was extracted through the nose using a small chisel and metal rod. The 3D images show traces of a thin, papery substance clinging to the inside of the skull - almost certainly the remains of the membranes that surround the brain.

Next the embalmer made an incision in the left flank, through which almost all of the internal organs were removed by hand. The liver, lungs, stomach and intestines, and sometimes the kidneys were dried and preserved with resin. These bundles were then placed back inside Nesperennub's body, although in earlier periods they would have been placed in canopic jars, pictured here. The wooden lids of the jars represent the Sons of Horus, four minor gods who protected the organs that they contained. They are: the baboon-headed Hapy (the lungs); the jackal-headed Duamutef (the stomach); the falcon-headed Qebhsenuef (intestines); and the human-headed Imsety (the liver).

The heart was left in place as it was regarded as the centre of the individual's being, both physically and spiritually, and therefore the location of the mind and memory. A square metal plate was placed over the incision made to extract the other organs; this is clearly visible on the CT scans of Nesperennub.