Conservators gently humidified it so that the fibres became less dry and brittle.
This allowed them to carefully unfold the shroud, a process which took almost 24 hours.
A hieroglyphic inscription on the shroud revealed the identity of the owner to be the previously unknown son of the Roman-era high-official Montsuef and his wife Tanuat.
Dr Maitland said: “To discover an object of this importance in our collections, and in such good condition, is a curator’s dream.
Story: BBC News | Photo: National Museum of Scotland