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The Ancient Egyptians Died Before 30 Years of Famine and Infections

Spanish researchers analyzed 200 mummies and skeletons Qubbet necropolis of el-Hawa at Aswan and ruin the image of opulence with which this town is related to.

The skull on the left belongs to a white guy Mediterranean. On the right is a robust subject, a Nubian of the period (1750 BC).

The ancient Egyptians did not live in such good condition and surrounded by opulence as previously thought, but were suffering from hunger and malnutrition, many infectious diseases and high infant mortality. Their life expectancy was only about 30 years. These are some of the conclusions reached by the research project Qubbet el-Hawa , University of Jaén, involving anthropologists at the University of Granada, and the Supreme Council of Antiquities of the Arab Republic of Egypt .

It is an excavation that develops in tomb number 33 in the necropolis of el-Hawa Qubbet, right in front of the modern city of Aswan, about a thousand kilometers south of Cairo. This tomb was built during the XII Dynasty (1939-1760 a.) To house the body of a high dignitary of the Aswan region which, for the moment his identity is unknown.

It was subsequently reused at least three times (XVIII, XXII and XXVI Dynasties), is one of the largest necropolis and has great archaeological potential as it houses at least one camera inside intact, with three decorated wooden coffins.

More than 200 mummies

Scientists at the Laboratory of Physical Anthropology, University of Granada, headed by Professor Miguel Botella Lopez, just returned from Egypt. They have participated in the campaign for the anthropological analysis of the bones of mummies found in the excavation, as well as counting the number of individuals belonging to the more modern times of occupation of the tomb (New Kingdom, Third Intermediate Period and Late Period ). These researchers have found more than 200 skeletons and mummies in tomb number 33.

The first results of this work shed some interesting conclusions, and have shed new data not only on its physical characteristics, but also on the conditions of life in ancient Egypt. And, as law professor Bottle, “but the cultural Level of the time was extraordinary, the anthropological analysis of human remains reveals that the population in general and governors, higher social class, living in  conditions very poor health, on the edge of survival. “

The UGR Anthropologists claim that life expectancy was only about 30 years, “and many suffering from malnutrition and acute gastrointestinal disorders, due to consumption of contaminated water from the Nile”. This was revealed by the fact that the bones of children do not show any marks, “which shows that died due to an acute infectious disease.” In addition, researchers have found in the tomb a lot of mummies belonging to young people between 17 and 25 years.

First mention of the Pygmies

Miguel Botella says that the tombs in the necropolis of el-Hawa Qubbet have inscriptions “of great importance for the history not only of Egypt but of all humanity.” Thus, in the tomb of the governor Herjuf (2200 a.) Narrates the three trips he paid to central Africa, in one of which came to bring a pygmy, this represents the earliest mention of this ethnic group .

The governors of the Aswan region, on the border with Sudan, as well as their families, and practiced mixing with black people who came from the neighboring country. In other inscriptions are told Egypt’s relations with the neighboring region of Nubia (modern Sudan) over nearly a millennium. For scientists, Qubbet el-Hawa is one of the most important sites in Egypt, not only by the discoveries already made, but also by the amount of information in health and disease and intercultural relations in antiquity.

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