Saturday, December 02, 2006

A new picture of ethnic diversity

"Scholars have long believed that ancient Egypt was a genetic stew of ethnicity, as the fabled kingdom was both a center of international trade and often the victim of foreign invasions. Now, new evidence suggests that may have been true even in the upper echelons of society, according to researchers who have used a blend of art and science to re-create what the ancients looked like in real life. They have used CAT scans to model the skulls of seven mummies from various museums, including one unveiled yesterday at Philadelphia's Academy of Natural Sciences, revealing physical features that range from Mediterranean to African. . . . He cautioned against drawing firm conclusions from such a small sample, and he stressed that ethnic traits were a small part of his research. But he said the findings suggested a society where race had little to do with class."

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