3,400-Year-Old Graveyard Unearthed in Egypt

Part of a graveyard dating back around 3,400 years has been unearthed in southern Egypt at the site of Gebel el Silsila, Egypt’s antiquities ministry has announced.

The discovery was made by a team from Sweden’s Lund University, led by researcher Maria Nilsson. Previously, the Lund University researchers had uncovered part of the cemetery during their 2015-2016 field season, and their more recent work in the 2016-2017 field season has revealed more of it, according to a statement from the ministry. [See Photos of the Crypts Discovered at Gebel el Silsila]

The tombs range in size from large crypts that may hold the bones of complete families to smaller tombs that are sometimes little more than shallow graves with a few stones on top. Children and infants were found in some of the simpler graves. Two of the children were buried “within the overhangs of the natural sandstone bluffs,” Nasr Salama, an archaeologist with the antiquities ministry who is general director of Aswan antiquities, said in the statement.

An analysis of the skeletons found in the cemetery revealed that, in their lifetimes, the people buried there performed jobs that involved a heavy amount of manual labor and high risk of accidents.

“Fractures of the long bones and increased muscle attachments amongst the skeletal remains indicate behaviors related to occupational hazards and an extremely labor-intensive environment,” Nilsson said.

However, although they performed hard labor, those individuals also appear to have had access to decent food and medical care. So far, little evidence for malnutrition has been found among the skeletal remains, and “many of the injuries appear to be in an advanced stage of healing, suggesting effective medical care,” Nilsson said in the statement.

The researchers also found evidence of the food the people would have consumed and some of the resources accessible to them.

Main Photo:

The remains of bones and artifacts were found inside one of the tombs unearthed at the site of Gebel el Silsila in southern Egypt.

Credit: courtesy Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities

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Source: 3,400-Year-Old Graveyard with Family Crypts Unearthed in Egypt

One thought on “3,400-Year-Old Graveyard Unearthed in Egypt

  1. Intriguing news. I guess there’s quite a bit left to discover about ancient Egypt – it’ll be fabulous if Nefetiti’s burial chamber is found. As a side point to this, but one that fascinates me about the way we popularly see time, I find it intriguing that we always refer to ‘ancient’ Egypt – a term that’s captured the imagination in the west. Few, I suspect, consider its antiquity in perspective, largely on the back of the western division of time into pre- and post-Christian eras, which (eventually, well after Christ) reset the calendar to a hard ‘start’ line some 2017 years ago. These days, at popular level, anything ‘before’ that is usually viewed as ‘ancient’, and our vision of the time-spans then is compressed – the Egyptians, Greeks, Babylonians and Romans ‘all’ happened ‘back then’. Whereas time in that sense is actually linear. What I’m getting at is that, while ‘ancient’ Egypt flourished 3000 years before the present, it was still closer in linear time to the present day than the first flourishing of agriculture in the Fertile Crescent. But in popular terms, nobody ever looks at it that way.

    Liked by 1 person

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