The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)

The Mummipaedia Project: Crowdsourcing to Expand the IMPACT Radiological Mummy Database


Anthropology, The University of Western Ontario

Thursday All day, Park Concourse Add to calendar

At the University of Western Ontario (UWO) a large-scale, international, collaborative database of mummy radiographic datasets (plain film, CT, MRI) has been established. When the IMPACT Radiological Mummy Database went live online in 2012 it included datasets for more than 120 human and animal Egyptian mummies and had received agreements for an additional 250 Egyptian mummies. The database’s focus on the Egyptian mummification tradition was a product of our experience with and seed contributions of Egyptian mummy imaging datasets, but was not intended to limit IMPACT to the study of ancient Egypt. Rather, IMPACT is intended to provide online access to medical imaging of mummies from cultures around the world.

In order to identify potential contributors a catalogue of extant Egyptian mummies, already several thousand entries long, was developed based on a simple Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. A spreadsheet populated by a single researcher using news and research articles, however, is an inefficient means of accurately and centrally cataloguing mummies from all other cultures. Crowdsourcing, the distribution of tasks to an undefined community of participants, taps into the power of an overwhelming popular interest in mummies and into the firsthand access that individuals and interested societies have to local museum holdings. The openly accessible Mummipaedia Project is being developed to expand the depth and breadth of our knowledge of all mummy holdings worldwide, to identify further IMPACT contributors where mummies have been imaged, and to identify potential future mummy imaging projects where they have not.

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