The Greville Chester toe made from cartonnage, a sort of papier mach made using linen, glue and plaster shows considerable signs of wear, while the Cairo toe has certain features, such as a simple hinge, a chamfered front edge and a flattened underside.
"The wear on the Greville Chester toe and the important design features on the Cairo toe led me to speculate that these toes were perhaps worn by their owners in life and not simply attached to the foot during mummification for religious or ritualistic reasons," said Dr Finch.
"However, until we were able to test replicas of both toes using volunteers under laboratory conditions, it remained uncertain if they could indeed help their owners to walk.
"My findings strongly suggest that both of these designs were capable of functioning as replacements for the lost toe and so could indeed be classed as prosthetic devices. If that is the case then it would appear that the first glimmers of this branch of medicine should be firmly laid at the feet of the ancient Egyptians."
|Contact: Aeron Haworth|
University of Manchester