Examination of tattoos on mummified tissue using infra-red Reflectography

Annalisa Alvrus, David Wright, Charles F. Merbs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Tattoos can have cultural or medical significance. Occasionally, evidence of this type of body modification may be found in archaeological remains. This paper describes three tattoos found in a collection of human remains from the site of Semna South in Sudanese Nubia. The tattoos date to the Meroitic period, about 2000 years ago. Two tattoos were located on the dorsal surfaces of naturally mummified hands. These tattoos were examined using infra-red reflectography to enhance visibility. The tattoos are relatively complex designs and may relate to the social status or the group affiliation of the individuals bearing them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-400
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001


  • Infra-red reflectography
  • Nubia
  • Tattooing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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