Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Overlooked ink

It wasn't until the staff of the British Museum reexamined 8 of the mummies in their collection for an upcoming exhibition that they discovered that one of them has a tattoo. The woman, aged between 20 and 35, lived on the banks of the Nile in what is now Sudan in 700 A.D. Her buried remains (IMAGES HERE) were found in 2005 and had mummified naturally. It was infra-red reflectography that clearly defined the tattoo on the skin of her right inner thigh, which is barely visible to the naked eye (IMAGE ABOVE). It is unknown whether the fashion of the day allowed the tattoo to be seen in public, but it read "M-I-X-A-H-A" which was deciphered as "Michael" in ancient Greek. A Christian symbol of the archangel featured in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, the monogram may have been applied for protection. Curator of physical anthropology Daniel Antoine notes, She is the first evidence of a tattoo from this period. This is a very rare find.”

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