Navigation auf


Institute of Evolutionary Medicine (IEM)

The Canopic Jar Project

Summary of Research

The Canopic Jar Project will establish novel research procedures and examine a larger series of ancient Egyptian human mummies and viscera samples from canopic jars in European and American museum collections in a truly interdisciplinary research setting. This inventive focus particularly on the contents of ancient Egyptian canopic jars can produce results, which are not obtainable by conventional ancient mummy research methods. The medical field will benefit from the understanding of pathogen evolution, which are of vital importance to increasing our understanding of the health and social structure of ancient Egypt.

Project Leader

Project Collaboration

  • Diagnostic Imaging (CT, MRI) at the Institute of Forensic Medicine, UZH

  • Histology at the Institute of Diagnostic Pathology, University Hospital Zurich

  • Radiocarbon Dating at the Institute of Particle Physics and Astrophysics, ETHZ

  • Forensic Pharmacology & Toxicology, Institute of Forensic Medicine, UZH

Selected Published Articles

  • Eppenberger P, Cavka M, Habicht M, Galassi F, Rühli F. Radiological findings in ancient Egyptian canopic jars: comparing three standard clinical imaging modalities (x-rays, CT and MRI). European Radiology Experimental. 2018; 2:12.

  • Galassi F, Habicht M, Bouwman A, Rühli F. The Canopic Jar Project: Interdisciplinary Analysis of Ancient mummified viscera. CIPEG Journal 2017, 1: 71-79.

  • Habicht M, Bouwman A, Rühli F. Die Bedeutung von Kanopen als Quelle medizinischer und ägyptologischer Informationen. Göttinger Miszellen 237, p 25-39, 2013..

  • Gautschy R, Habicht M, Galassi F, Rutica D, Rühli F, Hannig R. A new astronomically based chronological model for the Egyptian Old Kingdom. J Egypt Hist, 2017 10 (2) 69-108.

  • Habicht M, Galassi F, Wettengel W. The Ramesside Mummies. ePubli 2019, Berlin.

  • Senti S Habicht M, Rayo E, Eppenberger P, Rühli F, Galassi F. Egyptian Canopic Jars at the Crossroad of Medicine and Archaeology: Overview of 100 Years of Research and Future Scientific Expectations. Pathobiology, 85(5-6), 267-275.

  • Eppenberger P, Rühli F. Embalming. In: Lopez Valera Sandra L. (ed.), John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, USA, 2018, 1.

  • Habicht M, Eppenberger P, Galassi F, Rühli F, Henneberg M. Queen Meresankh III – the oldest case of bilateral Silent Sinus Syndrome (c. 2620/10 - 2570 BC)?. Anthropologie, 2018, 103-113.

  • Brockbals L, Habicht M, Hajdas I, Galassi F, Rühli F., Kraemer T. Untargeted metabolomics-like screening approach for chemical characterization and differentiation of canopic jar and mummy samples from Ancient Egypt using GC-high resolution MS. The Analyst, 2018, 143(18), 4503-4512.

  • Galassi F, Habicht M, Rühli F, De Carolis S. A Unique Case of Stroke and Upper Limb Paralysis in a Mid-18th Century Natural Mummy. Circulation Research, 2017, 121(4), 338-340.

  • Galassi F, Henneberg M, de Herder W, Rühli F, Habicht M. Oldest Case of Gigantism? Assessment of the Alleged Remains of Sa-Nakht, King of Ancient Egyp. Lancet Diabeter and Endocrinology, 2017, 5(8), 580-581.

  • Habicht M, Bianucci R, Buckley S, Fletcher J, Bouwman A, Öhrström L, Seiler R, Galassi F, Hajdas I, Vassilika E, Böni T, Henneberg M, Rühli F. Queen Nefertari, the Royal Spouse of Pharaoh Ramses II: A Multidisciplinary Investigation of the Mummified Remains Found in Her Tomb (QV66). PLOS ONE, 2016, 11(11), e0166571.

  • Habicht M, Bouwman A, Rühli F. Identifications of ancient Egyptian royal mummies from the 18th Dynasty reconsideredIdentifications of Ancient Egyptian Royal Mummies. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 2016, 159, 216-231.

  • Habicht M, Senti S, Rühli F, Galassi F. The Scientific Value of Ancient Egyptian Canopic Jars for Medical and Egyptological Research. Shemu, 2016, 20(3), 1-4.

  • Habicht M, Siegmann R, Gautschy R, Rutica D, Rainer H. A New Sothis Rise on a Small Cylindrical Jar from the Old Kingdom, in Göttinger Miszellen, 2015, 247, 41-50.

  • Rühli F, Bouwman A, Habicht M. A New Source for Old Questions. In: Ikram Salima, Kayser Jessica, Walker Roxie (ed.), Sidestone Press, Leiden 2015, 105-112.

  • Bianucchi R, Habicht M, Buckley S, Fletcher J, Seiler R, Oehrstroem L, Vasilika E, Böni T, Rühli F. Shedding New Light on the 18th Dynasty Mummies of the Royal Architect Kha and His Spouse Merit, in Plos One, 2015, 10(7), e0131916. 




  • Mäxi Foundation

  • Athenaeum Foundation - Dietrich Götze Stiftung für Kultur und Wissenschaft

Weiterführende Informationen

Swiss National Science Foundation

Media coverage