Gods hear our voice

Acoustic reconstructionTo 3000 Years a voice For the mummy

Researchers have given the mummy of an Egyptian priest a voice. We can hear exactly one sound from Nesyamun today.

A British team of researchers has reconstructed the voice of an Egyptian priest who died 3,000 years ago - more precisely, a vowel-like sound.

For this purpose, archaeologists, doctors and electrical engineers from various British universities have measured the Nesyamun vocal machine and recreated it in a 3D printer. They then connected this artificial larynx to a loudspeaker and brought the priest's voice back to life. The journal Nature has published its research report.

Vocal apparatus in good condition

The priest lived in the 11th century BC, at the time of Ramses XI. His mummy has been in a museum in Leeds, UK for almost 200 years and is also known as The Leeds Mummy. With the help of a computer tomograph, the researchers previously checked the state of preservation of the mummy in 2016.

The prerequisite was that even after 3000 years the larynx and throat of the corpse were still well enough to be measured at all. Our voice is created in this area of ​​the body and its sound is determined, reports Deutschlandfunk-Nova reporter Meike Rosenplänter.

"If the larynx and throat had disintegrated too much, the researchers would not have been able to reconstruct what the priest sounded like."
Meike Rosenplänter, Deutschlandfunk Nova reporter

On the priest's coffin is written the wish that his soul should be forever well, that it should move freely and address the gods, as the deceased did during his lifetime.

From this, one of the researchers today deduced that the reconstruction of the voice was in the sense of the deceased. This is what David Howard, the electrical engineer involved in the project, said.