The British Museum is going to display a group of Egyptian mummies in May unlike any other — including one with a tattoo of the Archangel Michael that is over 1,300 years old.
“Ancient Lives: New Discoveries” will kick off in just over a month, and it will showcase mummies that have been subjected to modern-day medical equipment (e.g., CAT scans) in order to give visitors a clearer picture of the lives they once lived.
The mummy with the Archangel Michael tattoo was actually a Sudanese woman who lived A.D. 700, the Telegraph reported. Scientists found her — and the tattoo on her thigh — seven years ago and were able to use infra-red technology to bring it into better focus. It spells out ‘MIXAHA’ in ancient Greek, meaning Michael.
“You can see her tattoo really clearly using infra-red reflectography,” Dr. Daniel Antoine, the museum’s curator of physical anthropology and curator of the coming exhibition, told the Telegraph.
“The tattoo on her right inner thigh represents a monogram that spells Michael in ancient Greek. … She is the first evidence of a tattoo from this period. This is a very rare find. … We can only speculate why she had a tattoo. Perhaps for protection.”
The woman died between the ages of 20 and 35 and stood 5 feet, 2 inches tall, the Telegraph reported.
Other mummies to go on display during the exhibit reach more than 5,500 years old. Visitors will be able to learn about what these people ate, their cardiovascular and dental health, and many other tidbits of information that modern technology was able to bring to light.