Anne Austin, assistant archaeology professor, discusses research on Egyptian mummies on Fox 2 News.

A field archaeology trip for University of Missouri–St. Louis Assistant Professor of Anthropology Anne Austin usually means traveling thousands of miles to Egypt. But the “Mummies of the World” exhibit at the Saint Louis Science Center brought the field to her. 

Fox 2 News joined Austin on a recent visit to the museum to examine a human mummified arm that bears a tattoo with the words “Pope Pius,” and the station shared the story on its March 31 newscast

“Normally, my work is in Egypt so it takes me a whole day to fly and get there, and I can only go when it’s field excavation time,” Austin told the station. “So, the opportunity to do some field research just by coincidence, 15 minutes away, is fantastic and speaks to the kinds of institutions we have in St. Louis.” 

She was filmed taking photos and using infrared light to learn more about the ancient tattoo.

“When you photograph them in infrared and then something that hasn’t been seen in thousands of years, you get to see for the first time,” Austin said.

Austin’s research using infrared technology to examine tattooing in ancient Egyptian society has gone on to challenge previous understandings of the subject and garnered interest from news outlets around the world. While working in Egypt, Austin discovered the only known ancient Egyptian tattoos on a mummy with over 30 different tattoos. 

Austin joined the faculty at UMSL in 2017 after completing a fellowship at Stanford University in the History Department. She earned a B.A. in anthropology from Harvard University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in the archaeology program at UCLA. 

To view the Fox 2 News segment featuring Austin, click here.

Ramona Curtis

Ramona Curtis

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