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Revealing the Practice of Tattooing in Ancient Egypt

01 June 2022, 4:00 pm–5:00 pm

putple square with 'sacred ink: body marking through the ages' writton on it

Sacred Ink: Body marking through the ages online lecture by Dr Anne Austin (University of Missouri-St. Louis)

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to

All | UCL staff | UCL students | UCL alumni

Availability

Yes

Cost

Free

Organiser

Casey Johnson

The practice of tattooing in ancient Egypt is rarely attested. Egyptologists have identified tattoos on only a handful of mummies spanning 3,000 years of Pharaonic Egypt. Texts are virtually silent on the practice and artistic depictions are often ambiguous. During my research in 2014 through the mission of the Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale (IFAO) we made an incredible discovery: an extensively tattooed woman from the necropolis at Deir el-Medina. With over 30 tattoos, this woman completely redefined what we knew about tattooing in ancient Egypt. Since then, we have identified dozens of new tattoos among the many unpublished human remains at the site. These additional tattoos indicate that many more individuals were likely tattooed at Deir el-Medina. Coalescing the physical and art historical evidence, this talk offers some of the most comprehensive evidence we have to date on the practice of tattooing in ancient Egypt.


Sacred Ink: Body marking through the ages programme (PDF)

The Department of Hebrew & Jewish Studies is hosting the Sacred Ink eLecture series, which focuses on body marking for ritualistic, aesthetic, and other benign purposes throughout the ages, from Ancient Egypt up to the present day. The eLectures take place each Wednesday from 27 April until 1 June 2022 from 16:00 until 17:00BST via Zoom. We are delighted to invite you to this free online event and we look forward to seeing you in one of the meetings.

PLEASE NOTE THE LECTURES WILL NOT BE RECORDED.

About the Speaker

Dr. Anne Austin

Assistant Professor of Anthropology at University of Missouri-St. Louis

Dr. Anne Austin received her B.A. in Anthropology from Harvard University, and she earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in the Archaeology program at UCLA. She joined UMSL in 2017 after completing a three-year postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University in the History Department. Her research combines the fields of osteology and Egyptology in order to document medicine and disease in the past. Specifically, she uses data from ancient Egyptian human remains and daily life texts to reconstruct ancient Egyptian health care networks and identify the diseases and illnesses people experienced in the past. While working in Egypt, Anne discovered the only known ancient Egyptian tattoos on a mummy with over 30 different tattoos. Anne's next research project will focus on the practice of tattooing in ancient Egypt and its potential connections to gender, religion, and medicine. In addition to her interested in Egyptology and osteology, Anne works on improving archaeological data management practices through her participation in an international, collaborative ethnographic research study on archaeological field schools.

More about Dr. Anne Austin