Italian and American archaeologists working together on a joint mission have recently discovered the 3,700-year-old skeletons of an Egyptian woman and her fetus in a grave in a region that is between Aswan and Kom Ombo, according to general secretary of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Mostafa Waziri.
As Ahram Online reports, this ancient grave appeared to be completely undisturbed and was found in a cemetery that would have once been utilized by nomadic people from Nubia who gradually migrated to Egypt between 1,750 and 1,550 BC, which is a time that is referred to as the Second Intermediate Period.
Research on the 3,700-year-old skeleton of the Egyptian woman has shown that she would have been around 25-years-old at the time of her death and was extremely close then to childbirth. This was determined by the fact that the fetus had already settled into a “head-down” position in the mother’s womb, and it is believed that both the mother and her baby would not have made it through childbirth alive.
Through a careful analysis of the Egyptian woman’s skeleton, it was also found that her pelvis was misaligned, which may have come about through a fracture that never healed properly. Archaeologists believe it is very possible that this misalignment of the uterus may have caused severe problems during her childbirth that may have led directly to her death.
— Dr. Kristina Killgrove (@DrKillgrove) November 16, 2018
According to Forbes, Dr. Mindy Pitre of St. Lawrence University explained that even though archaeologists are unable to determine exactly when the Egyptian woman and her child would have died after studying their 3,700-year-old skeletons, nor what the exact cause of their deaths may have been, the misalignment of the mother’s pelvis almost certainly would have played a major role in terms of health issues during her life, and may also have contributed to her untimely death.
“While it is impossible to determine the cause or timing of death of both the woman and child, it is clear that the woman’s pelvis showed signs of misalignment, suggesting possible injury or health issues during life.”
During the burial procedure of the woman, her family and community encased her in a leather shroud and laid beside her two ornate pieces of pottery with which they believed she would be taking with her as she continued her journey after death to the afterlife that awaited her. A jar that she was buried with may have been one that the Egyptian woman used during life as it looked well-worn, and the second piece of pottery that was discovered was a highly polished bowl that was painted red and black.
Also uncovered beside the 3,700-year-old skeletons of the Egyptian woman and her fetus were ostrich eggshell beads, which Dr. Maria Carmela Gatto of the University of Leicester suggests may indicate that the woman was a bead-maker.
“It is possible that in life she was a well-regarded bead-maker and her family placed such a large amount of unworked material in the grave to honor her memory.”
With the recent discovery of the 3,700-year-old skeletons of the woman and her fetus in Aswan, Egypt, researchers will now be able to examine life and death during a period in Egyptian history that is currently little understood.