The number of computerised tomography (CT) investigations of mummies has increased since the first published study in 1979. However, this approach has never been validated. We present a critical analysis of the literature (1979 to 2005). Relevant articles were selected via a MedLine search and analysed according to CT technique, methodology, and author's speciality. Thirty-one original articles matched our selection criteria. Of these studies, 42% were authored by radiologists, while 26% had no contribution from radiologists. Hypothesis-driven papers comprised only 9.7% of the total. While 84% of the studies had a stated purpose for conducting the CT study, only 67% of studies defined their CT protocol clearly. CT was used to study mummification techniques in 74% of instances, and/or to detect disease in 58%. Conclusions based on CT analysis were derived in 84% of studies, but only 32% of these answered specific questions. Furthermore, only 36% of these conclusions were related to the stated purpose of the study. Using the criteria of the grading system we developed, we found that 61% of studies were supported only by weak evidence. We conclude that evidence-based research with better design should be encouraged in future palaeoradiological studies. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.