3,400-Year-Old Tombs With Unusual Remains Discovered In Egypt

Posted: Jan 14 2017, 2:08am CST | by , Updated: Jan 14 2017, 2:27am CST, in News | Latest Science News

 

3,400 Year Old Tombs with Unusual Remains Discovered in Egypt
Credit: Lund University
 

Researchers have recovered 12 tombs in the ancient quarried landscape of Al-Silsila that contain the remains of animals like cat, goats and even crocodiles

Archeologists have unearthed a dozens of rock-cut tombs in ancient Egyptian site of Gebel el Silsila. The burial chambers date back to 3,500 years ago and likely belong to the people living in the reigns of Thutmose III and Amenhotep II. 

The burial cemetery not only contains human remains but also the bones of animals like cats, sheep, goats and even crocodile. It’s something unusual and astonishing.

The team of researchers from Sweden’s Lund University has been excavating the ancient site since 2015 and they have uncovered 43 tombs, including the 12 during their recent trip.

 “The individual tombs excavated this season reveal multiple burials within the same chamber or crypt, possibly complete families, and individuals of varying ages and sex.” Nasr Salama, General Director of Aswan Antiquities in Egypt said in a statement.

The findings also include three infant remains that were buried in different ways. One infant is wrapped in textile and placed within a wooden coffin while remaining two were placed secreted within the overhangs of the natural sandstone bluffs.

The analysis of human remains recovered from the necropolis suggests that most of those people were healthy and were died of causes other than malnutrition and infectious outbreaks. However, they tend to do tough jobs that involved heavy manual labor with an increasing risk of injuries.

“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. Furthermore, many of the injuries appear to be in an advanced stage of healing, suggesting effective medical care.” Lead researcher Maria Nilsson from Lund University said. 

Fossils of sheep, goats and fish Nile perch have also been recovered from the cemetery, suggesting they might be used for sacrificial offerings. As for the crocodile remains lying on the floor of courtyard, it is not clear whether they had been purposefully brought there or simply ended up there with flooding.

“We cannot verify that these crocs were deliberately placed within the necropolis, or whether they died of natural causes. But to find two in similar circumstances is worthy of further research and analysis.” Project’s associate director John Ward told Seeker.

In addition, the burial site has yielded an array of jewelry, ceramic vessels, plates, colored pebbles and many more.

For researchers, this is not just a cemetery in the ancient quarried landscape of Al-Silsila but also a window to the past that continues to change their perception of the site and the role it played during the New Kingdom.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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