Biblical Tattoo Found on Thigh of 1300 year-old Mummy from Egypt

Tubercular decay has been found in the spines ...

Tubercular decay has been found in the spines of Egyptian mummies. Pictured: Egyptian mummy in the British Museum. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

British Museum researchers discovered that an Egyptian mummy, a woman dating back to 700 A.D. has a tattoo on her thigh that displays the name of the biblical archangel Michael, in the form of Μιχαήλ, after the mummy had been stripped and scanned.

This happened in the course of a research project employing advanced medical scans – not least CT (Computed Tomography) images – for examining Egyptian mummies, during 2013, at a number of UK hospitals. This mummy was a woman wrapped in both woolen and linen cloths before burial, her remains mummified by desert heat.

That thigh tattoo, written in ancient Greek, transliterated as M-I-X-A-H-A, or Michael, once deciphered by curators, who speculated that it may have been a symbol denoting religious and spiritual protection, commenting that, as with Greeks and Romans, those among the Egyptian population who were literate delighted in designs created by employing letters in names, and to have the name of a powerful heavenly protector on the body was very common back then.

Pregnant Christian women, it appears, often had amulets with divine or angelic names on bands around their abdomens to insure safe child delivery, and the placing of this tattoo,  on the inner thigh, might also have had this kind of meaning in terms of the body being claimed and protected by the most powerful of angels.

In that era, it appears, Christian Gnostics and religious cultists all had deep fascination with the names and functions of angels, whom they saw as intermediary beings between god and humanity, though Christians were not the only ones to use angelic names, as Jews of the period were equally fascinated by the identity and nature of angels. This kind of amazing discovery has, in fact, long been hoped for, and this was from a 200 AD, early Christian site, where the hot climate alone was enough to mummify the deceased. 

The exhibition portrays one mummy that dates back to 3,500 B.C., as well as the tattooed female, aged between 20 and 35, who lived and died about 1,300 years ago. Researchers pointed out that regular Egyptians — not only the royals — were mummified.

The tattooed mummy, the remains of which were found less than a decade ago, was so well preserved that archaeologists could nearly discern the tattoo on the inner thigh of her right leg with the naked eye. But medical infrared technology helped them see it clearly.

Egyptian mummy head with elabroate wrappings e...

Egyptian mummy head with elabroate wrappings exhibited at Louvre. Paris – 3/29/09 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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