Twelve New Rock-Hewn Tombs Unearthed In Aswan Shed Light On Ancient People’s Health

More than 12 rock-hewn tombs have been unearthed in Gebel el-Silsila, located on the northern side of Gebel Al-Silsila in Aswan, Egypt.

The Egyptian-Swedish archaeologists led Maria Nilsson of Lund University and John Ward, were excavating in the area immediately to the north of the famous stele of King Amenhotep IV and stretching westwards to the Nile, informs Ahram Online.

Researchers say that each of the 3,400-year-old tombs excavated so far contained multiple burials and may have belonged to families who lived during the reigns of of New Kingdom pharoahs Amenhotep II and Thutmose III.

She also added, the team discovered another 12 rock cut tombs as well as three crypts cut into the rock, two niches possibly used for offerings, one tomb containing multiple animal burials, and three individual infant burials, along with other associated material.

The condition of the skeletal remains excavated by researchers suggests that these people worked hard and performed physical labor but were rather healthy. Many of the injuries appear to be in an advanced stage of healing, suggesting effective medical care.

One tomb contained the remains of sheep, goats, and Nile perch and an almost complete adult crocodile was also discovered resting on the floor in the courtyard immediately outside tomb number ST27. The crocodile was oriented in a north-south direction, with the head pointing to the north.

Three infant burials were also found; one infant wrapped in textile placed within a wooden coffin. Two of the three children were placed secreted within the overhangs of the natural sandstone bluffs. They were placed on their side, oriented in either a north-south direction, face towards the east, or alternatively a east-west direction, and facing north.

Amulets depicting the figure of the god Bes, necklaces, ceramic vessels, worked flint and colored pebbles were also found within the graves.

The excavations also revealed finely dressed sandstone sarcophagi, sculptured and occasionally painted pottery coffins, painted cartonnage, textile and organic wrapping, ceramic vessels and plates, as well as an array of jewelry, amulets and scarabs.

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