Scientists have discovered the first example of a bandaged wound on a mummy from ancient Egypt. The finding could provide clues about medical treatment at the time. Whether this bandage was added as part of a religious ceremony or left on after treatment is unclear.
The ancient Egyptians were no strangers to linen bandages, which they first used to wrap their dead more than 6000 years ago, about a thousand years before the first pharaohs rose to power. But we have had no evidence of the way they dressed flesh wounds until now.
However, recently, scientists found the first recorded example of a bandaged wound on a mummified body, which could offer more insight into ancient medical practices.
The finding was published in the International Journal of Paleopathology, a peer-reviewed journal, on December 30 2021.
The researchers said they discovered the bandages on the remains of a young girl, aged no more than four years, who died about 2,000 years ago. The dressing wrapped a wound that showed signs of infection, the study said.
“It gives us clues about how they [ancient Egyptians] treated such infections or abscesses during their lifetime,” Albert Zink, head of the Institute for Mummy Studies in Bolzona, Italy, and an author on the study, told Insider.
According to the research, the mummy is believed to have been taken from the “Tomb of Aline” in Faiyum Oasis, located southwest of Cairo.
The finding had come as a surprise to the scientists, who didn’t set out looking for the bandages.
“It was really exciting because we didn’t expect it,” Zink said. “It was never described before.”