An almost 3000 years old artificial wooden big toe at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo is being reexamined by Egyptologists and other experts. In the human history, it is presumed to be one of the oldest prosthetic devices. It was unearthed from a female burial from the necropolis of Sheikh ´Abd el-Qurna nearby Luxor.
The international team examined the prosthesis using X-ray technology, modern microscopy, and computer tomography. They found that the wooden toe was many times refitted to the foot of its wearer, a priest’s daughter.
They also recognized the method using which the intricate prosthesis was made and utilized. Its maker from the early first millennium BC must have been a skilled artisan who was well-versed in human physiognomy. His technical knowledge is evident especially in the robust structure of the belt strap and the prosthetic extension’s mobility.
The laborious and meticulous making of the prosthesis indicates that its owner valued a wearing comfort, natural look, and aesthetics. It also means that she could afford the services of highly qualified specialists to get this.
The burial ground from where the prosthesis was unearthed is now being studied by the researchers.