Archaeologists have discovered mummified remains of four children buried some 3,500 years ago near the Egyptian city of Aswan.
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A Swedish-Egyptian archaeological mission at Gebel el Silsila, Egypt, led by Dr. Maria Nilsson from Lund University and John Ward, discovered four intact child burials at the site.
The findings could provide important clues into family life at the ancient quarry.
The findings further support the theory that there was a permanent community as the site, as opposed to a temporary workforce. The quarry provided stone for temples and tombs during the Thutmosid period, or Egypt’s 18th dynasty.
The team has uncovered a total of 69 tombs at the necropolis since 2015. However, most of them have been plundered during antiquity, making the intact burials particularly important for understanding social life and customs during the time period.
The four burials, all believed to be children under the age of 10, all seemingly tell different stories. One child was buried in a wooden sarcophagus together with multiple objects, such as ceramic plates and wine vessels, bronze bracelets, scarabs and a nefer-amulet. Another was buried without obvious care in a quarried area, apart from surrounding tombs, and with pathological indications of sickness.
The wealth of some of the burial goods indicate a material wealth that goes beyond that of simple workers an slaves, that were previously thought to be the occupants of the quarries of Gebel el Silsila.
The team will continue the osteological analysis of the remains, something that might provide more specific details into the fates of the children.