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Infrared Images Help in Revealing Hidden Tattoos on Egyptian Mummies

Image for representation. (Reuters)

Image for representation. (Reuters)

At the annual meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research, archaeologist Anne Austin of the University of Missouri–St. Louis opened up on the topic.

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Egyptian mummies have been a subject of interest for research for centuries. From ancient tools to modern techniques, various methods have been used to study the preserved Egyptian mummies.

While a lot has already been studied, it was recently found out that Egyptian mummies had illuminating tattoos on their body. Yes, you read that right.

At the annual meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research, archaeologist Anne Austin of the University of Missouri–St. Louis opened up on the topic.

On the conference dated November 22, Anne had revealed that her team had identified tattoos on seven mummified individuals using infrared photography. The mummies are at least 3,000 years old at a site called Deir el-Medina.

“It’s quite magical to be working in an ancient tomb and suddenly see tattoos on a mummified person using infrared photography,” said Anne, who has been examining the mummies with her team.

It is, however, still not known as to who made these tattoos and what do they signify. Out of these 13 mummies that have been found, 12 are females while one is a male.

It is to be noted that at Dier-el-Medina, only female mummies have been spotted with tattoos.

Other than Deir el-Medina, only six mummified individuals have been spotted with tattoos in the past at ancient Egyptian sites. However, Anne said, “Infrared photos, which display wavelengths of light invisible to the naked eye, are transforming what’s known about tattooing in ancient Egypt.”

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