While mummies are sometimes discovered with tattoos of patterned dots or dashes, a mummy has recently been discovered in Deir El-Medina with more elaborate and symbolic tattoos.
Thanks to the tremendous advancement of science in the field of imaging techniques, an ancient Egyptian mummy has been discovered with marks of heavy tattoos on her body, according to the NewHistorian. The mummy, believed to have died sometime between 1300 - 1070 BCE, was found heavily tattooed in a village in Deir El-Medina located nearby the Valley of the Kings.
As per NewHistorian, it’s common for mummies to be found with primitive tattoos, usually in the form of simple patterns made up of dashes or dots. However, this mummy was markedly different in that her tattoos resembled sacred symbols, perhaps indicative of the woman’s high station in life as a noted religious figure of some sort. In fact, this is the first dynastic Egyptian mummy to have actual objects depicted in her tattoos, including baboons on her neck, cows on her arm, and lotus blossoms on her hips.
In an interview with Nature, Anne Austin – a bio archaeologist from California’s Stanford University, who presented the research findings at an American Association of Physical Anthropologists meeting – recounted how the tattoos were found on the mummy while examining sets of remains for the French Institute of Oriental Archaeology. It was first believed that the marks were body paint, but she soon came to realise that they were in fact permanent tattoos, according to NewHistorian.
With many of the tattoos having direct religious significance – such as those of cows, which are thought to be associated with Hathor, a major ancient Egyptian deity – it seems all but certain that the woman was quite pious in life, reported NewHistorian.