Tattooed Egyptian Mummy
Human Mummy
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Biographical Information
Name(s) A close-up view of the tattooed mummy found in Egypt
Age 24-35
Sex female
Status priestess
Culture Egyptian
Date(s) 1300-1070 BC
Site Deir el-Medina
Current Location
Location Egypt
Catalog #

Recently, the remains of a heavily-tattooed woman dated to 3300 years ago in Ancient Egypt have been found and examined.


This female mummy was discovered at Deir el-Medina, a village close by to the Valley of the Kings in Egypt. The woman is thought to be aged approximately 24-35 years old and was a priestess to the goddess Hathor. Her discovery is particularly notable because she was found to be covered in tattoos which likely hold many symbolic and religious meanings.


Standard Ancient-Egyptian mummification practices (of organ removal, embalming and wrapping the body) seem to have been employed. It is notable that the mummification processes somewhat distorted the many tattoos found on the body, intensifying the colours of some of them.


Modern imaging technology (such as infrared cameras) have allowed researchers to gain a detailed image of the approximately 30 tattoos this woman had. Coupled with cultural information, researchers have been led to believe that her tattoos hold religious meanings (ie: to enhance her powers of prayer to Hathor, or to mark her piety). Although it was initially difficult to visualize the tattoos, ongoing studies will be conducted in order to gain more information.


No significant information about the pathology of this woman have been found. Her tattoos were the only significant sign of bodily modification.

Additional Info

This find is particularly significant because it reverses the assumption that priestesses in the past had been traditionally painted with imagery, rather than tattooed.


Enos, Elysha. "The best ink job in ancient Egypt: Elaborately tattooed mummy brings archeologists to tears." CBCnews. CBC/Radio Canada, 22 Aug. 2016. Web. 15 Mar. 2017.

Watson, Traci. "Intricate animal and flower tattoos found on Egyptian mummy." Nature News. Nature Publishing Group, 5 May 2016. Web. 15 Mar. 2017.

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