Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Egyptologists revisit a founding father

Manchester University

The University of Manchester and the Natural History Museum in London are to revisit the work of anthropologist Sir Grafton Elliot Smith and set up a publicly available website on his excellent but as yet overlooked work.

The team, which includes researchers at Manchester’s KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology, has won a £160,000 Wellcome Trust grant to re-examine Smith’s evidence from 20,000 bodies buried at Nubia, in research that never received the recognition it deserved.

Smith, an academic at the Universities of Cairo and Manchester and UCL in the early twentieth century, originated the study of disease in large populations and gathered extensive data just before Nubia was flooded by the building of the low dam of Aswan. The area is now southern Egypt/northern Sudan.

KNH Director Professor Rosalie David, of Manchester’s Faculty of Life Sciences, said: “Elliot Smith was one of the great pioneers of palaeopathology and was the first to study disease patterns of given archaeological populations on an extensive scale. However, his work has never been properly recognised or acknowledged, largely because of the diversity of projects he worked on and because the surviving related archival material and human remains are now held in scattered institutions. It is important to investigate his research legacy because it provides an unequalled picture of patterns of disease, diet and living conditions over many centuries.”

No comments: