To this very day, the structures still stand tall... | 22 Words

Scientists have this week achieved the impossible by recreating the voice of an Egyptian priest who died three-thousand years ago.

Keep scrolling to hear the eerie audio for yourself...

Now, the ancient Egyptians have long been embroiled in mystery.


The North African country has a rich and cultured past that has enticed and captivated historians for centuries.

We all learned about the ancient pyramids of Giza...


These huge structures were painstakingly hand-built with more than 5 million blocks of limestone from roughly 2550 to 2490 B.C.

To this very day, the structures still stand tall...

Which has lead many people - Elon Musk included - to speculate that they were built by aliens.

Disclaimer: They definitely were not built by aliens.

To date, over 130 pyramids have been discovered across the country...


And each was used as the burial sites for the tombs of pharaohs - the rulers of Ancient Egypt - and their families.

As well as their incredible architecture, Egypt's supernatural beliefs have also captured the curiosity of historians.


The afterlife was incredibly important to the Egyptians - they believed that by preserving a dead person's body, which was done through the process of mummification, their soul would live on in the after-life forever.

Throughout the last few decades, these mummified bodies have been slowly discovered by historians and archeologists...


And their lavish gold tombs - each complete with intricately preserved artwork - have fascinated millions of people from all over the globe.

Egyptian mummies have become somewhat of a talking point among historians...


And the discovery of a "new" mummy always garners great fuss and media attention.

Over the years though, historians have been learning more and more about the process of mummification...


​It was quickly discovered that mummification was an expensive process and that only the wealthy Egyptians could afford to have their bodies mummified after they died - poor Egyptians were simply buried in the sand.

And it was pretty clear almost straight away as to why the process was so expensive. 


Mummified bodies are perhaps the best preserved in the world - the Egyptians believed that the deceased body was the home for this soul or spirit: If the body was destroyed, the spirit might be lost.

So the embalmment process was a lengthy and extensive one...


And, as a result, the corpses remain almost fully intact thousands of years later, with facial features, teeth, and tattoos still distinguishable.

These mummified bodies are so intact, in fact...


That scientists have this week managed to achieve something quite remarkable.

An Egyptian priest who died over three-thousand years ago has found his voice once more.


In life, the priest, known as Nesyamun, sang and chanted words of worship during the politically volatile reign of Pharaoh Ramses XI.

In death, he was ritually mummified and sealed in a coffin with the inscription "Nesyamun, true of voice."

And now, some three-thousand years into the afterlife and with the aid of a 3-D-printed vocal tract...


Nesyamun's voice has been restored.

The mummified corpse has been studied intently over in the United Kingdom for the past two-hundred years...


And on the most recent area of study - his vocal cords - Joann Fletcher, an Egyptologist at the University of York in England and an author on the paper, credited the embalming process for their success.

She said this:

Leeds Museums and Galleries

"The actual mummification process was key here. The superb quality of preservation achieved by the ancient embalmers meant that Nesyamun's vocal tract is still in excellent shape."

David Howard, a speech scientist at Royal Holloway, University of London, and his team used a CT scanner to create a 3-D-printed version of Nesyamun's mouth and throat.


They then combined it with an electronic larynx to reconstruct "the sound that would come out of his vocal tract if he was in his coffin and his larynx came to life again."

To copy the sound produced by Nesyamun's vocal tract, the exact dimensions of it were mirrored in the 3D-printed form.

Leeds Museums and Galleries

This process was only made possible as a result of the soft tissue of his vocal tract being so reasonably intact.

So far, the team has managed to synthesize only a single sound from Nesyamun's remains...


Which, in itself, is an incredible accomplishment.

The "ah" and "eh" vowel sounds heard in the words, "bad" and "bed" have been successfully replicated...


But the finding, which was published on January 14th in Scientific Reports, may lay the groundwork for recreating and listening to an ancient person's voice.

You can listen to his vocal cords at work here:

What an amazing achievement!

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