There is one rather unglamorous theory about the origin of the ankh symbol: it is quite possible that it has evolved from the hieroglyph for 'sandal'. The loop is the sole and the three line extruding from it are the leather thongs used to tie the sandal to the foot.

Needless to say, this theory tends to irritate goths and anyone who sees it as a symbol for life, balance or the union of man and woman. It does seem to carry some academic merit though.