The woman who tattooed her body in the time of the pharaohs
His remains appeared four years ago in the confines of Deir el Medina, a village of craftsmen and workers located a stone's throw from the Valley of the Kings. And since then
The oldest tattoo on a 5,000-year-old mummy
His remains appeared four years ago in the confines of Deir el Medina, a village of craftsmen and workers located a stone's throw from the Valley of the Kings. And since then the enigma of the tattooed mummy had been beating , with the aches and pains of those who endure 3,000 years underground. The examinations to which she has been subjected have just shed the first light on a skeleton that must have belonged to an elite woman or a high official.
"Scientific and archaeological studies reveal that it is the mummy of a woman who probably lived between 1300 and 1070 BC and died when her age ranged between 25 and 34 years," says Mustafa el Waziri, secretary general of the supreme council of Antiques. Adhered to its rotten skin, it is still visible thirty tattoos that scatter by neck, back, arms and shoulders.
The drawings depict bulls, sheep, baboons, lotus flowers and the eye of Horus (Udyat), a magical and protective amulet that symbolizes order, which remains undisturbed. A symbolic universe carved on the body with an intention to endow itself with prestige that, according to the Egyptian authorities, "reflects that the mummy belongs to a woman who enjoyed an important religious status throughout her life".
The finding, made in 2014, is signed by an archaeological mission attached to the French Institute of Oriental Archeology (IFAO), an institution based in Cairo that - unlike the scandalous and sad story of the Spanish Archaeological Institute in Cairo, dismantled Two years ago after decades of neglect - it is a respected government agency that helps the Egyptologists of the neighboring country.
In spite of the intense analyzes of which it has been object -among them infrared-, the mummy keeps its secrets. The experts have not managed, at the moment, to identify the titles and positions that it occupied although - they advance - they must have been of height. It is the first skeleton that exhibits figurative tattoos . "Those found so far in other mummies of ancient Egypt present simple squiggles as points or small lines but never scenes or figures like those we find here," El Waziri slips.
The first tattooed lives now as a borrower, as a new tenant in the tomb TT291, the burial of Nakhtmin and Nu, an official of Thebes who found eternal rest in Deir el Medina, located on the western edge of present-day Luxor, some 600 kilometers south of Cairo. According to the expedition that unearthed it, the cavity provides the same environmental conditions of its original burial. Your rest will be altered by the investigation. Archaeologists will scrutinize their framework response to their position and identity.
The fascinating certainties of the case have a precedent at the beginning of this year, an investigation raised the minutes of a couple of skeletons, man and woman, which have been exhibited since 1901 in the rooms of the British Museum. Both mummies, previous to the irruption of the pharaohs, were discovered at the end of century XIX in Gebelein (the two mountains, in Arab), a desert zone to about 40 kilometers of Tebas.
The discovery of those tattoos was the oldest evidence of tattoos on humans in Africa, a millennium before the so-called pioneer. The studied pair, modified in a natural way by the heat, the salinity and the dryness of the desert, inhabited the present Egypt in a period that would oscillate between 3351 and 3017 BC . A predynastic stage to which the unification of the country happened under the baton of the first pharaoh. In the skeleton of the male a wild bull and a ram appear while the woman's has linear and S-shaped motifs.