A high school in Australia has an item stored in its library that you likely won’t find at any other high school: the head of a mummy rumored to be 2,000 years old.

According to Live Science, the mummified head has been in the library since 1915, when it was donated to the school by either a famous Egyptologist or a local doctor.

The school previously tried to give the head back to Egypt or donate it to a museum in Sydney, Australia, but neither effort led to the head being relocated, the article said.

But now, the head is getting renewed attention, including from researchers who reconstructed the face.

The reconstructed face of a mummy

Smithsonian Magazine reports that work on the reconstructed face was led by forensic artist Jennifer Mann, who said, “There is a point in the reconstruction process that suddenly the face emerges. I had a sudden, strange realization that I was looking at the face of a real person.”

Mann reconstructed the mummy head by adding eyes and tissue markers on a 3D-printed skull that replicated the mummy. She compared the skull’s shape to modern Egyptian faces to accurately add facial muscles and the nose, according to Live Science. Once that was done, she added jewelry and a hairstyle found in Greco-Roman art before finishing her reconstruction off with a bronze resin.

“The final sculpture is a lifelike portrayal of an older Egyptian woman,” Live Science reported.

Mann shared her thoughts on creating the face this way with Live Science.

“I now prefer to finish these as a bronze sculpture, so that people are appreciating the facial features. This is a deliberate choice, because there is no scientific evidence (from recovered DNA in this case) for things like skin tone and eye color,” she said.

Other mummified remains have been reconstructed

Researchers previously used similar technologies to reconstruct the face of Pharaoh Ramses II, who was mummified after his death. They used computer software to reconstruct the his face, according to Newsweek.

A more recent facial reconstruction of a mummy came from the remains of a girl found in Peru, known to scientists as the Ice Maiden of Ampato, per National Geographic.

Sacrificed in the 1400s to the Incan gods, the girl was naturally mummified due to the elements, but soon those same elements destroyed her face. Scientists were able to reconstruct her face, and she’s now on display in Peru’s Museo Santuarios Andinos.

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