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ancient Egyptian body modifications

Today is a fun little holiday known as “King Tut Day,” that celebrates the day back in 1922 when Howard Carter and his team of archeologists and Egyptologists uncovered the entrance to King Tutankhamen’s Tomb in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings.  The excavation of the tomb itself took several years, but the mummy of “King Tut” would provide some major revelations.  Amongst other gems, it was discovered that Tut shared an interesting characteristic with the modern youth of many western countries: his ears had been not only pierced, but stretched.

Tutankhamen's Golden Death MaskKing Tut’s solid gold death mask.  Notice the large earring holes.

This one mummy having pierced ears is nothing to sneeze at, but even better were many subsequent finds.  Several Egyptian mummies have been discovered in the decades since King Tut’s big reveal, many of them older and more modified than he.  Tattoos amongst female mummies are a recurring catch, and even larger stretched lobes or piercings in other places have been seen.

As far as other evidence of modification goes, particularly amongst the ruling class, many Egyptian relics have been discovered and identified within or near grave sites.  These include stretching spools, large gauge ear jewelry, solid gold ear weights, and several small tools established as tattooing implements.  Just a few of the more famous mummies sporting ancient modifications include Nefertiti, Ramses II, Seti II, and the priestess Amunet.

After the King Tut discovery gained renewed interest amongst American youth in the early 2000s, the 18th dynasty Pharaoh became inextricably linked to stretching, as the name “King Tut Piercing” began circulating amongst the younger generations as an alternative moniker for stretched ear piercings.

  • E

    Excellent I would like to that and frees like an Egyptian!

    Eric Solomita on

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