Coffin X-ray

Image of an X-ray on a computer screen

This week the Arch St Project has had a special visitor: Dr. Jerry Conlogue and his students from Quinnipiac University.  Jerry is a professor of diagnostic imaging.  When he's not working on live patients, Jerry works on mummies and other archaeological assemblages, providing researchers with a non-destructive method to view remains.  For the Arch St Project, Jerry is X-raying our coffins prior to our internal excavation of their contents.  Our hope is to view body position and any metallic artifacts that might disintegrate during excavation.  The image here show several straight pins from one of our child coffins.  This indicates that the body was wrapped in a shroud rather than clothed.  Also visible are the nails holding the coffin together giving us more information about the coffin construction and architecture.  The other thing Jerry is X-raying for us are all the sub-adult (child) skulls to get an inside look at tooth development.  Teeth help us determine the age-at-death buy for very young children, most of that information is still inside the jaw since the teeth are still forming and haven't erupted.  Finally, some of our skulls have preserved brain tissue inside.  Jerry is X-raying those for us, too, so we can get a better look.