How the British Museum found an angel tattooed on an Egyptian mummy

A mummy of an Egyptian woman dating back to 700 A.D. has been scanned and stripped to reveal a tattoo on her thigh that displays the name of the biblical archangel Michael. Read more

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    An intimate tattoo

    A photograph of the tattoo found on the mummified remains of a Sudanese woman.
    Trustees of the British Museum
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    Found on the banks of the Nile

    The site of the excavation on the fourth cataract of the Nile in Sudan, where the grave was found in 2005.
    Sudan Archaeological Research Society
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    The grave itself

    The grave of the Sudanese woman, on the excavation site on the Nile in Sudan. The owner of the tattoo died in about AD 700 and lived in a Christian community.
    Sudan Archaeological Research Society
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    The body

    The woman’s body was wrapped in a woolen and linen cloth before burial, and her remains were mummified in the desert heat. Here, a CT scan shows a 3D visualization of the mummified remains.
    Trustees of the British Museum
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    Organs, revealed

    The same CT scan -- a 3D visualization of the mummified remains -- transformed to show the organs.
    Trustees of the British Museum
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    Skeleton, revealed

    A research project that used advanced medical scans, including these CT images, examined Egyptian mummies at a number of hospitals in the United Kingdom last year.
    Trustees of the British Museum
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    Infra-red reflectography of the tattoo

    As deciphered by curators, the tattoo on her thigh, written in ancient Greek, reads Μιχαήλ, transliterated as M-I-X-A-H-A, or Michael.
    Trustees of the British Museum
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