Infrared Images Uncover Hidden Tattoos On Egyptian Mummies

Good news, and just in time for the holidays: when your folks start giving you a hard time about the sweet new ink you picked up, just remind them that no, you won't have a hard time finding a job. You'll just move to ancient Egypt, where folks were more open minded about stuff.

On November 22nd, University of Missouri-St. Louis archaeologist Anne Austin gave a report stating that, through the use of infrared imaging, scientists have discovered previously unnoticed tattoos on seven mummies from the Deir el-Medina region of Egypt. It's a big find that's changing the way researchers view the significance of getting a sleeve done. The mummified remains, all female, seem to have been inked up as a way of denoting their statuses as healers and holy folks, according to Science News.

Ancient ink in ruins

Not a lot of discernable patterns were found in the placement or imagery of the tattoos, but one of the bodies was reported to include three neck pieces: an eye, presumed to represent protection, and two baboons, all on the corpse's neck. This, according to our own independent research, indicates that in life, the ancient Egyptian drank a lot of Pabst Blue Ribbon and insisted that there hasn't been any good music since Minor Threat broke up.

Surprisingly, the mummies in question, dating back to between 3,000 and 5,000 years ago, don't represent the oldest tattooed remains on record. That honor goes to Ötzi the Iceman, a European mummy discovered in the Ötzal Alps in Austria back in 1991. His body has been dated back to about 5,250 years ago, and, based on his heritage and the fact that he was out discovering himself in the mountains when he died, probably had the lyrics to "Skinny Love" by Bon Iver tattooed somewhere on his body.