Bringing the Text to Life
She was an elderly woman. About 50 years old.
Moderately well-preserved, although a bit dried out.
Not likely to attract much attention.
Granted, 50 is not so old - unless you're living 3,000 years ago in ancient Egypt. This 50-year-old woman was recently found in burial chamber TT-95 in the Egyptian necropolis at Thebes-West. For someone who'd been buried for three millennia, she looked remarkably well-preserved. Yet even to archaeologists, she was not likely to attract attention because she appeared to be an average, everyday, garden-variety mummy ... until someone noticed the odd-looking big toe on her right foot. It was totally artificial.
It consisted of three pieces of carved wood fitted onto her foot with leather straps, making it the world's oldest known prosthesis. The wooden toe still looked ready for use, still lashed to the patient's mummified toe by a textile lace.
For paleo-pathologists around the world, this big toe was big news. X-rays revealed that the Egyptian woman's...