0311_(Translation Practice) Tattoos discovered on mummies after millennia under wraps

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Mar 11, 2018 16:38 translation TC-to-EN
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The British Museum said in a press release that researchers found the oldest tattoos in the world by far on the upper arms of two ancient Egyptian mummies. The tattoos comprise symbolic patterns.

On one of them, which is male, the patterns on the upper arms illustrates wild bulls and sheep; The female mummy has patterns like a shape of “S” on the shoulders and also upper arms.

These tattoos of art look just like dark stains in natural light, and these were discovered in 2017 using Infrared photography by a team jointly formed by the British Museum and Oxford University’s Faculty of Oriental Studies.

Curator of physical anthropology at the British Museum Daniel Antoine told Reuters “This discovery provided a whole new explanation and changed our understanding about the purpose of tattoos in ancient times.” He explained “these tattoos are on conspicuous areas of the bodies, implying that in fact, they intended to have tattoos there to grab attention.” He also added that the evidences to prove there were tattoos in Africa should be 1000 year older because of this discovery.

These two mummies were unearthed in a small city Gebelein in Egypt, which is located in the south of current Luxor and about 40 kilometers far. They are estimated to date to 3315 to 3117 BC, the Predynastic period before the first pharaoh ruling the whole Egypt.

The researchers said that the female mummy’s tattoos might be a symbol of her social status, her brave personality, or her witchcraft ability. On the other hand, the tattoos on the male one might represent his masculinity and power. Before this, most archaeologists thought only women had tattoos because they could only find tattoos on female terracotta of that age.

The oldest tattoo ever found is geometrical designs on a mummy called Otzi and roughly 5300 years old. It was discovered in 1991 in Alps in Italy. Having been frozen up, its conditions are very well-preserved and completed.

This research led by Antoine and Oxford University’s Renee Friedman was published in the Journal of Archaeological Science on 3/1.

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