A tattoo on the left hip bone of the mummified Egyptian woman from Tomb 298.

Childbirth Protective Tattoos Found on Ancient Egyptian Mummies

A tattoo on the left hip bone of a mummified Egyptian woman buried in Deir el-Medina. (Image credit: Anne Austin/University of Missouri-St. Louis)

Lower back tattoos may seem like an early 21st century fad popularized by celebrities wearing low-rise jeans, but new archaeological evidence from Egyptian mummies shows the practice is actually more than three millennia old. .

At the New Kingdom site of Deir el-Medina (1550 BC to 1070 BC), researchers Anne Austin and Marie-Lys Arnette discovered that tattoos on the flesh ancient and the tattooed figurines of the site are probably related to the ancient egyptian god Bes, who protected women and children, especially during childbirth. They published their findings last month in the Journal of Egyptian Archeology (opens in a new tab).

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