Scientists Found Four Intact Child Graves From Ancient Egypt

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Archaeologists discovered four intact child graves in Upper Egypt. The graves were located at a quarry which a long time ago provided stones to make temples and tombs during the 15th Century B.C. Out of those four children, the youngest child is estimated to have been two or three years old when the child died, Live Science reports.

The quarry is also known as Gebel el-Silsila and it contains many more graves than just the children, which had been discovered previously. In the last few years, researchers have discovered 69 tombs located at the site, most of them have been long since looted, according to Live Science. What makes the children’s graves different is that they are intact.

“The team is excited about continuing the osteological analysis of the remains, which will hopefully provide us with more specific details regarding nutrition and the general health and well-being of the children,” lead archaeologists Maria Nilsson and John Ward of Lund University in Sweden told Live Science via e-mail.

During the Thutmosid period, Gebel el-Silsila was in use, Live Science reports. The Thutmosid period began around 1493 B.C. during the reign of Thutmose II and lasted through the reign of his grandson Amenhotep II, which occurred around 1401 B.C. Archaeologists from Sweden and the U.K. discovered the quarry’s huge necropolis last year, which dates to the Eighteenth Dynasty, according to Haaretz. In this same place, the new researchers found these tombs some months ago, which includes three of the intact child graves, while the fourth was found in another part of the quarry.

Nilsson told the BBC that there are more than half of the graves in the quarry that need yet to be excavated. The child from the first of the four graves could likely have died between the ages of 6 and 9. The remains of the coffin were filled with different forms of tableware, and scientists recovered beer jars, wine vessels, and more, according to Live Science. The skeleton of the child had bronze bracelets, ornate scarabs, and a bronze razor. The skeleton also included an amulet which symbolizes happiness and luck.

The second of the four intact child graves was carved into rock, the BBC reports, and it contains remains of the youngest child out of the four, who was no older than 3 years old. The scientists didn’t find anything buried with the body. The third grave contained a child between the ages of 5 and 8, and it also contained three scarab amulets.

Inside the fourth grave, scientists uncovered the remains of a child aged 5 to 8. However, according to Live Science, the researchers found that the burial of the fourth child didn’t show the signs of care that was found in the other three graves and that there were signs of an injury on the child, which implies that the other three children belonged to wealthier families.

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