the voice of a 3,000-year-old mummy has been recreated by scientists

the voice of a 3,000-year-old mummy has been recreated by scientists

the voice of a 3,000-year-old mummy has been recreated using CT scans, a 3D-printer, and a voice synthesizer. nesyamun, a priest who lived during the time of pharaoh ramses xi, lived during the politically volatile reign of pharaoh ramses XI, between 1099 and 1069BC.


his remains are so well preserved that scientists were able to map his throat, mouth and voice box using a CT scanner at leeds general infirmary, and recreate it using 3D printing. using the vocal tract, they synthesised a vowel sound meant to be similar to the voice of nesyamun.

the voice of a 3,000-year-old mummy has been recreated by scientists

nesyamun in his coffin in the leeds museum in england
all images © leeds teaching hospitals/leeds museums and galleries.



the study was conducted by academics at royal holloway, university of london, university of york and leeds museum made a took detailed scans and measurements of the mummy’s vocal tract. this was then used used to recreate his larynx as a plastic copy.


the mummy’s larynx measures smaller than that of a modern man, making his voice relatively high pitched. its believed by experts that egyptians were shorter than people today, on average between 5ft and 5ft 4inches tall.

the voice of a 3,000-year-old mummy has been recreated by scientists

the mummified body of nesyamun laid on the couch to be ct scanned at leeds general infirmary



the findings, published thursday in scientific reports, have made it possible to recreate and listen to an ancient person’s voice. so far scientists have only recreated a single sound which resembles the ‘ah’ and ‘eh’ vowel sound but they could now look to other possibilities, like entire words or even sentences.


the voice of a 3,000-year-old mummy has been recreated by scientists from designboom 



‘while this approach has wide implications for heritage management/museum display, its relevance conforms exactly to the ancient egyptians’ fundamental belief that to speak the name of the dead is to make them live again,’ the report explains.

the voice of a 3,000-year-old mummy has been recreated by scientists

final segmentation view (upper) and sagittal section of the two halves of 3D printed nesyamun’s vocal tract (lower). the lack of tongue muscular bulk and soft palate is clear


‘given nesyamun’s stated desire to have his voice heard in the afterlife in order to live forever, the fulfilment of his beliefs through the synthesis of his vocal function allows us to make direct contact with ancient egypt by listening to a sound from a vocal tract that has not been heard for over 3000 years, preserved through mummification and now restored through this new technique.’


project info


published: scientific reports
title: synthesis of a vocal sound from the 3,000 year old mummy, nesyamun ‘true of voice’

  • Sounds like Michael Jackson

    Ned says:
  • Fantastic research!

  • Remarkable technological breakthrough! Sounds like my pet goat Henry I had as a child. How are the happy munching grounds Henry…O’Henny!!! Neah, Neah, Neah…LOL

    Robert says:
  • You think they would have made it say something like “Hello…i am King tut. Welcome to the Mummy display.”

    Trevor Ursulescu says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

technology news

keep up with our daily and weekly stories
504,237 subscribers
- see sample
- see sample
designboom magazine