Saturday, March 29, 2008

New study shatters earlier picture of a pampered society


New evidence of a sick, deprived population working under harsh conditions contradicts earlier images of wealth and abundance from the art records of the ancient Egyptian city of Tell el-Amarna, a study has found.

Studies on the remains of ordinary ancient Egyptians in a cemetery in Tell el-Amarna showed that many of them suffered from anemia, fractured bones, stunted growth and high juvenile mortality rates, according to professors Barry Kemp and Gerome Rose, who led the research.


Despite leaders’ best intentions, and contrary to common depictions of abundance and wealth, ancient Egyptians might not have had the most desirable conditions or lifestyles. Art records from the city of Armana have long depicted prosperity, however new evidence reveals otherwise.

Armana, Egypt’s capital for a brief period, may have had a deprived population under nearly unbearable conditions during the reign of Akhenaten, the ruler between 1379 and 1362 BC. Armana is the only ancient city in Egypt for which there are great details of its internal plan, but due to its unique creation and desertion its accuracy in regard to representation of Egypt is questionable. The city was abandoned no more than 10 years after Akhenaten’s death.

Regardless of its similarities to other cities in Egypt, it is surprisingly opposite of the way it has often been represented

Studies of remains of ancient Egyptians in an Armanan cemetery conducted by Barry Kemp and Gerome Rose reveal a great deal about the cities’ population. Those who lived in Armana worked under severe conditions and were often sick and deprived. Studies of the bones show that many citizens of Armana suffered from fractured bones, stunted growth and anemia, and that mortality rates in children were surprisingly high.

See the above pages for more.

No comments: