The Tattooed Sudanese mummy (also known as: Tattooed Mummy), marks the first evidence of a tattoo from her time period. She was found in 2005 during an archeological dig in a cemetery in Sudan. The mummy was a part of a group of seven other mummies that underwent CAT scans in a London Hospital. The group became a new exhibition in the British Museum called Ancient Lives: New Discoveries, sponsored by Julius Baer and technology partner Samsung, and ran from May 22-Nov 30 2014. Her tattoo is almost visible to the naked eye, but was clearly analyzed using infa red reflectography. The tattoo, on the inner thigh of her right leg spells out in Ancient Greek M-I-X-A-H-A (Micheal). The tattoo represents the symbol of the Archangel Michael, who features in both the Old and New Testaments. The symbol has previously been found in ancient churches and on stone tablets, but never before in the form of a tattoo.
The owner of the tattoo was a woman who died in about AD 700 and lived in a Christian community on the banks of the Nile. Her internal organs are surprisingly well-preserved. The reason for her tattoo can only be speculated, some suggesting it was for protection.
She been buried wrapped in a linen and woollen cloth and her remains had mummified in the dry heat.
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It is not clear who did the tattoo in ancient Sudan, and whether it was visible to other natives.
High up on her inner thigh, it may or may not have been out of view. And for all its scientific expertise, the British Museum admits to being unclear as to what exactly was the fashionable length of skirt worn by an ordinary Nile dwelling female in AD 700.
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