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Tattoos Detected on 5,000-Year-Old Egyptian Mummies

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Egypt mummies tattoosLONDON, ENGLAND—According to a BBC News report, tattoos have been found on two 5,000-year-old bodies naturally preserved in shallow graves by desert conditions at the site of Gebelein in Upper Egypt. Daniel Antoine of the British Museum said the images push back the evidence of tattooing in Africa by about 1,000 years. It had been thought that only the women of ancient Egyptian society wore tattoos, but infrared scans of the male mummy revealed that dark smudges on his upper arm were actually images of a wild bull with a long tail and a Barbary sheep. Similar tests revealed four small S-shaped motifs on the female mummy’s shoulder. The tattoos may have conveyed status, bravery, and magical knowledge, and are thought to have been created by placing soot under the skin. “Only now are we gaining new insights into the lives of these remarkable preserved individuals,” Antoine said. To read in-depth about body art in the archaeological record, go to “Ancient Tattoos.”

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