Ancient Mummies Discovered With Toe Rings
" Archaeologists have discovered two ancient Egyptian skeletons, dating back more than 3,300 years, which were each buried with a toe ring made of copper alloy, the first time such rings have been found in ancient Egypt.
The toe rings were likely worn while the individuals were still alive, and the discovery leaves open the question of whether they were worn for fashion or magical reasons.
Supporting the magical interpretation, one of the rings was found on the right toe of a male, age 35-40, whose foot had suffered a fracture along with a broken femur above it.
The male ancient Egyptian skeleton lived more than 3,300 years ago and died at the age of 35-40, before being buried with a ring on his right toe.
CREDIT: Photo courtesy the Amarna Project
The findings do appear to be the first copper alloy toe rings discovered in ancient Egypt. "I'm not aware of any, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. Bear in mind that if we found something like this in a house, for example, we would have no idea of its purpose,"Stevens wrote in an email toLiveScience.
A gold toe ring was previously found on a mummy named Hornedjitef, a priest at Karnak more than 2,200 years ago. The mummy, which resides at the British Museum, has a "thick gold ring on the big toe of his left foot," writes anthropologist Joyce Filer in her book "The Mystery of the Egyptian Mummy" (British Museum Press, 2003).
He "showed signs of multiple antemortem [before his death] fractures, including of several ribs, the left radius, right ulna, right foot (on which the toe ring was found) and right femur," Stevens wrote. "The fracture of the right femur healed at an angle and must have caused this individual considerable ongoing pain."
The ring was placed on the toe of the injured foot, suggesting perhaps it was intended as a magical healing device of sorts.
"The act of 'binding' or 'encircling' was a powerful magical device in ancient Egypt, and a metal ring, which can be looped around something, lends itself well to this kind of action," Stevens said. "This is a possibility that we will look into further, checking through sources such as the corpus of magico-medical spells that have survived from ancient Egypt, to look for parallels."....
However, the skeleton of the second individual with the toe ring, found in 2012, bore no visible signs of a medical condition. Stevens notes that this individual has yet to be studied in depth by bio-archaeologists and its sex is unknown.