It doesn’t say “WWJD” but a Christian tattoo on a 1300-year-old Sudanese mummy is still an exciting find.
Visitors to the upcoming “Ancient Lives: New Discoveries” exhibition on mummies at the British Museum will get a chance to view for the first time the mummified remains of a Sudanese woman found in 2005 along the banks of the Nile. She and seven other mummies were given CAT scans (computed tomography ) at London hospitals and those images, along with infrared reflectography and carbon dating, helped researchers create detailed images and analysis of what’s underneath their wrappings and sarcophagi.
One of the more interesting finds was a tattoo on the inner thigh of the right leg of a 20-to-35 woman who died in about AD 700 and lived in a Christian community in Sudan. The tattoo, faintly visible to the naked eye but visible in greater detail using infrared technology, spells out in ancient Greek the letters M-I-X-A-H-A or Michael and is a symbol of the Archangel Michael. It has been found in churches and on stone tablets but this is the first time in tattoo form.
More interesting discoveries about the tattooed lady and her mummified friends will be on display when the exhibit opens in May.