Hunger, Disease Plagued Ancient Egyptian Rulers | Égypt-actus |

Lawrence LeBlond for – Your Universe Online

A long-standing belief that ancient Egyptian governors and rulers lived the high life is being called into question. A recent excavation of the Qubbet el-Hawa necropolis, in the region of Aswan, has offered up evidence that not even the wealthy rulers of the time could avoid hunger, malnutrition, disease and high infant mortality rate.

Researchers from the University of Jaen, along with anthropologists from the University of Granada, analyzed a large number of mummies and skeletons from one of the necropolis’ tombs and drew the conclusion that these wealthy ancients did not live in such good condition as previously believed. They also uncovered evidence that the governors of Aswan and their families regularly interbred with the black peoples of neighboring Nubia (present-day Sudan).

The Qubbet el-Hawa project, which also received assistance from the Supreme Council of Antiquities of the Arab Republic of Egypt, involved excavation of tomb no. 33, which was constructed during the 12th Dynasty (1939-1760 BC). The tomb housed the corpse of one of the leading luminaries of the period, a figure whose identity is still not known today.

The tomb was later re-used by the 18th, 22nd and 27th Dynasties as well, and is one of the largest sites in the necropolis. The team views this site as archaeologically significant, since it houses at least one chamber that remains untouched an intact, containing three decorated wooden sarcophagi.


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