In a remarkable digital resurrection, one of ancient Egypt’s most iconic pharaohs has been brought back to life, showcasing both his middle-aged regal glory and his frailty in old age. Researchers have achieved this feat by employing Computerized Tomography (CT) scans of the mummy of Ramses II, also known as “Büyük Ramses.”
The Reign of Great Ramses
Ramses II, commonly referred to as “Büyük Ramses,” ruled Egypt’s New Kingdom from 1279 BC to 1213 BC. Over his legendary 66-year reign, he solidified his status as one of Egypt’s most formidable pharaohs by contending with numerous regional adversaries and expanding his empire.
Three-Dimensional Facial Reconstruction
The team behind the recently created three-dimensional facial reconstructions reveals that Ramses II was at the peak of his military activities around the age of 45 and ultimately met his end at the age of 90.
While describing their efforts to recreate the great king’s face, researchers explain that Ramses II’s mummified body was scanned using a modified CT protocol suitable for ancient desiccated remains. They note that this preservation method acted like a time capsule, allowing for an in-depth examination of his facial features.
For instance, the elderly Ramses sported a bald head with hair remaining only at the back and sides. Astonishingly, these robust hair follicles still retained traces of henna, which had been applied over 3,200 years ago, dyeing the strands a vibrant shade of orange.
Evidence of ear piercings was also found, but archaeological records suggest that in ancient Egypt, only young boys wore earrings. Consequently, the researchers chose not to depict the adult Ramses with any jewelry.
A Pharaoh’s Appearance
Additionally, the mummy revealed that Ramses II had a tanned complexion with a prominent nose. The embalmers had attempted to preserve his features using substances like seeds, resin, and animal bones.
Time’s Touch Erased
To recreate the pharaoh’s middle-aged appearance, the researchers employed a series of computer modeling tools to eliminate specific signs of aging, such as a drooping nose, thin lips, and dental loss. As a result, the youthful Ramses was portrayed with a stronger jawline, shorter nose, ears, fuller cheeks and lips, fewer wrinkles, subtle facial contours, and darker, fuller hair.