Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

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Central mummy 3D-scanned for international research project

Carlo+Rindi+Nuzzolo%2C+a+Marie+Sk%C5%82odowska+Curie+Actions+Post-Doctoral+Global+Fellow%2C+performs+a+3D+scan+of+Naperville+Centrals+ancient+Egyptian+mummy.
Jake Pfeiffer
Carlo Rindi Nuzzolo, a Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions Post-Doctoral Global Fellow, performs a 3D scan of Naperville Central’s ancient Egyptian mummy.

Naperville Central’s ancient Egyptian mummy was 3D-scanned for CRAFT (Cartonnage Regionalism in the Ateliers of the Fayum Territory), a project cataloging the cartonnages of mummies from the Fayum Oasis region of Egypt on April 9. 

The project is led by Carlo Rindi Nuzzolo, a Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions Post-Doctoral Global Fellow. The fellowship is one of the highest research grants awarded by the European Union, and requires fellows to work with three research institutes. For CRAFT, Nuzzolo works with Yale University, University of California Los Angeles and the Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche, Italy’s largest research council.

“My specialty is to detect regional styles and where objects come from in Egypt based on their craft,” Nuzzolo said. “This project in particular is dedicated to the oasis of Fayum. That’s why I came here, because [the mummy] is from Fayum. The problem is that oftentimes museums don’t know where [mummies] come from, so I [have to] go by the looks of them.”

The cartonnage of Central’s mummy (encasing the head and resting on the chest) attracted Carlo Rindi Nuzzolo, a Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions Post-Doctoral Global Fellow, to Central. PHOTO BY JAKE PFEIFFER

Fayum is a basin located just west of the Nile River and south of Cairo. Cartonnages — the focus of Nuzzolo’s project — are the hard outer casings that often can be found on mummies’ heads and chests.

Nuzzolo read about Central’s mummy in a Northern Public Radio article and saw a picture of it that made him believe it came from the Fayum region, so he reached out to staff to see if he would be able to scan the mummy for CRAFT. The visit was a win-win proposition for Central’s social studies department, as Nuzollo’s efforts helped teachers who incorporate the mummy into their curriculum to learn more about it.

“[Nuzollo pointed out] the earrings [on the mummy’s headpiece], which we never noticed before,” said social studies teacher Mike Albiniak, who has used the mummy to help teach students about Egyptian history. “That was an eye opener, and also learning where the mummy was from.”

Part of Nuzzolo’s work involves determining if individual mummy’s masks were individually crafted or were mass produced.

“That’ll be pretty cool, because we’ve always wondered, ‘are those her facial features, something that was pulled off a shelf?’” said Jim Galanis, a retired Central social studies teacher who was present for the scanning.

(From left to right) Social studies teacher Sam Gillespie, retired social studies teacher Jim Galanis, research fellow Carlo Rindi Nuzzolo and social studies teacher Mike Albiniak discuss the history and origins of Central’s mummy. PHOTO BY JAKE PFEIFFER

Central’s mummy was first donated to the school in the 1940’s by a Naperville doctor, and was displayed in several locations around the school — at one point even being lost in a storage room — before finding its current home in Central’s Social Studies department office. Galanis was instrumental in the care of the mummy and incorporating it into Central’s curriculum during his time at Central.

Following his visit to Naperville, Nuzzolo will continue to scan more mummies across North America before eventually documenting the findings of his years-long journey. The project is its second year, and is expected to finish in mid 2025.

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About the Contributor
Jake Pfeiffer
Jake Pfeiffer, Editor-in-Chief
Jake Pfeiffer is a senior, entering his third year on the Central Times staff, this time as Editor-in-Chief. Jake joined CT as a sophomore because he wanted to write news, but since then he has grown to love just about every element of journalism. While it is rare to see Jake anywhere other than the CT office, occasionally you can find him captaining Central’s debate team, watching baseball, listening to a seemingly endless amount of podcasts or drowning in college applications.
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