The Human Remains from Tomb MMA 514 in North Asasif
The tombs of the North Asasif Necropolis have been the subject of archaeological excavations for more than a century. Mainly dating to the Middle Kingdom, the majority of these tombs were excavated for the Metropolitan Museum by H.E. Winlock in the early 20th century. The Asasif Project, directed by Dr. Patryk Chudzik, has been revisiting these tombs since 2013. In many cases, Winlock left behind a significant amount of archaeological debris, including detritus from the tombs’ original use in the Middle Kingdom and material from the Third Intermediate Period, when many of these tombs were reused. One of these tombs, MMA 514, was reused at least twice, and has yielded a wealth of remaining material, including a significant number of human remains. The human remains have been fragmented, damaged, and scattered by centuries of looting, as well as by Winlock’s excavations, but some information may still be gathered from these remains. Over the course of two field seasons, an inventory of the human remains was conducted, the results of which are presented here. All age ranges are present in the human remains, and both males and females are represented.
Smiting Pharaohs: Violence and Power in Ancient Egypt
Violence has been used as a legitimate, accepted, and even expected tool of power and control by rulers in complex societies through time and space. The violent and often public manipulation of human bodies by rulers provides a vivid reification of identities, social mores, and ideologies. When interpreting evidence of violence in archaeological remains, it thus becomes all important to understand the way that the participants would have viewed the violent act.
It is not simply the violent act itself that exploits and manipulates these cultural
reference points, however; the way that a human body is processed before, during, and after an act of violence also draws upon cultural ideas of desecration and preservation, justice and injustice, what is appropriate and what is inappropriate, to reinforce, obscure, or complicate the meaning of the violence itself. This chapter assesses examples of state-sanctioned, violent manipulation of the human body in ancient Egypt, both before and after death, and the way that such bodily processing was used as a tool of power and control.
Human Remains from the Tomb of Khety (MMA 508/TT311): The 2019 Season
The North Asasif Necropolis, adjacent to the New Kingdom temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el Bahari, has been the subject of several excavations over the past century, first by H.E. Winlock in the early 20th century, and since 2013 by the Asasif Project. Most of the tombs in the necropolis are rock-cut tombs of honored officials dating to the Middle Kingdom. One of these officials, named Khety, was buried in a tomb designated by Winlock as MMA 508 (also known as Theban Tomb 311), though the tomb was subsequently reused for another burial (or burials) during the Third Intermediate Period. Though Winlock excavated this tomb in the early 20th century, he left much archaeological material behind, and systematic documentation of this excavation debris by the Asasif Project has yielded a wealth of information. This study focuses specifically on the human remains recovered from MMA 508 during the 2019 season.
Despite the commingled nature of the MMA 508 assemblage, much information has been gleaned from the human remains. The remains of at least twenty individuals, including infants and children as well as adults, were recovered from the tomb debris. Evidence for systemic physiological stress and infection was observed in some of the remains, and both male and female individuals were identified. Various aspects of body treatment testify to the elite status of the individuals interred in this tomb. The relatively high percentage of sub-adult remains may support theories that the tombs in this part of the necropolis were sometimes used as multi-generational family tombs. Further study of the human remains from MMA 508 may shed light on burial practices from the Middle Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period.
Preliminary assessment of the human remains from the Temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el Bahari
Excavations over the course of many seasons by thePolish-Egyptian Mission in the Temple of Hatshepsut at Deirel-Bahari have revealed the presence of multiple intrusive burialswithin and around the temple structure itself. These burials aredated much later than the construction of Hatshepsut’s temple,most of them seemingly from the Third Intermediate Period,and have been heavily disturbed over the millennia. This articlepresents a preliminary assessment of human remains fromsome of these burials. The remains are highly fragmentary and
in varying states of preservation, from mummied to completely
skeletonized. Only two individuals are present as nearly completemummies. A brief inventory indicates the presence of multipleindividuals, both adults and juveniles, and both male and female.At least one instance of a healed traumatic injury is visible in one
of the mummied individuals. This preliminary study is intended
to establish a foundation for future research regarding the lifehistories of these individuals
A Preliminary Analysis of Human Remains from Tomb MMA 514 in North Asasif, Egypt
Since 2013 the Asasif Project has conducted excava-tions of several Middle Kingdom tombs in the North Asasif Necropolis under the direction of Patryk Chudzik. Located adja-cent to the New Kingdom temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el Bahri in southern Egypt, these tombs were originally excavated in the early 20th century by H.E. Winlock. This article describes the results of a preliminary inventory of the human remains left behind from Winlock’s excavations of one of these tombs, MMA 514, and its associated funerary complex. This tomb was reused at least twice in antiquity after the original interment, and Winlock’s some-times cursory (by modern standards) excavation methods have produced a highly mixed archaeological assemblage of human and faunal remains as well as archaeological artifacts from various time periods. In 2017, this author joined the Asasif Project fora very brief part of the excavation season to assess the condition and distribution of human remains from Tomb MMA 514. Although the human remains are in various stages of preservation and are highly fragmented, it is possible to identify at least nine separate individuals, ranging in age from infancy to adulthood.
Neoplasm or not? General Principles of Morphologic Analysis of Dry Bone
Unlike modern diagnosticians, a paleopathologist will likely have only skeletonized human remains without medical records, radiologic studies over time, microbiologic culture results, etc. Macroscopic and radiologic analyses are usually the most accessible diagnostic methods for the study of ancient skeletal remains. This paper recommends an organized approach to the study of dry bone specimens with reference to specimen radiographs. For circumscribed lesions, the distribution (solitary vs. multifocal), character of margins, details of periosteal reactions, and remnants of mineralized matrix should point to the mechanism(s) producing the bony changes. In turn, this allows selecting a likely category of disease(e.g. neoplastic) within which a differential diagnosis can be elaborated and from which a favored speciﬁc diagnosis can be chosen.
Paleo-oncology: Taking stock and moving forward
This article serves as an introduction to the International Journal of Paleopathology’s special issue, Paleo-oncology: Taking Stock and Moving Forward. Reﬂecting the goals of the special issue, this paper has been designed to provide an overview of the current state of paleo-oncology, to introduce new and innovative paleo-oncological research and ideas, and to serve as a catalyst for future discussions and progress. This paper begins with an overview of the paleo-oncological evidence that can be found in ancient remains, followed by a summary of signiﬁcant paleo-oncological ﬁndings and methodological advances to date. Thereafter, challenges in estimating past prevalence of cancer are highlighted and recommendations are made for future advancements in paleo-oncological research. The ground-breaking studies included in the special issue and referenced throughout this introduction embody the many ways in which progress can be made in the ﬁeld of paleo-oncology.
A Man in His Duty: An Ushabti of Neferibresaneith at the Getty
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