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Grim Secrets Of Pharaoh's City
BBC ^ | 1-26-2008 | John Hayes-Fisher

Posted on 01/26/2008 10:18:42 PM PST by blam

Grim secrets of Pharaoh's city

By John Hayes-Fisher
BBC Timewatch

Bones reveal the darker side to building Ancient Egypt

Evidence of the brutal lives endured by some ancient Egyptians to build the monuments of the Pharaohs has been uncovered by archaeologists.

Skeletal remains from a lost city in the middle of Egypt suggest many ordinary people died in their teenage years and lived a punishing lifestyle.

Many suffered from spinal injuries, poor nutrition and stunted growth.

The remains were found at Amarna, a new capital built on the orders of the Pharaoh Akhenaten, 3,500 years ago.

Hieroglyphs written at the time record that the Pharaoh, who was father of Tutankhamun, was driven to create a new city in honour of his favoured god, the Aten, with elaborate temples, palaces and tombs.

Along with his wife Nefertiti, he abandoned the capital Thebes, leaving the old gods and their priests behind and marched his people 200 miles (320km) north to an inhospitable desert plain beside the River Nile.

The city, housing up to 50,000 people, was built in 15 years; but within a few years of the Pharaoh's death, the city was abandoned, left to the wind and the sand.

The bones reveal a darker side to life, a striking reversal of the image that Akhenaten promoted. Professor Barry Kemp

For more than a century archaeologists looked in vain for any trace of Amarna's dead.

But recently archaeologists from a British-based team made a breakthrough when they found human bones in the desert, which had been washed out by floods.

These were the first bones clearly identifiable as the workers who lived in the city; and they reveal the terrible price they paid to fulfil the Pharaoh's dream.

"The bones reveal a darker side to life, a striking reversal of the image that Akhenaten promoted, of an escape to sunlight and nature" says Professor Barry Kemp who is leading the excavations.

Painted murals found in the tombs of high officials from the time show offering-tables piled high with food. But the bones of the ordinary people who lived in the city reveal a different picture.

"The skeletons that we see are certainly not participating in that form of life," says Professor Jerry Rose, of the University of Arkansas, US, whose anthropological team has been analysing the Amarna bones.

"Food is not abundant and certainly food is not of high nutritional quality. This is not the city of being-taken-care-of."

The population of Amarna had the shortest stature ever recorded from Egypt's past, but they would also have been worked hard on the Pharaoh's ambitious plans for his new capital.

The temples and palaces required thousands of large stone blocks. Working in summer temperatures of 40C (104F), the workers would have had to chisel these out of the rock and transport them 1.5 miles (2.5 km) from the quarries to the city.

Reconstruction of Amarna which was six miles (10km) across

The bone remains show many workers suffered spinal and other injuries. "These people were working very hard at very young ages, carrying heavy loads," says Professor Rose.

"The incidence of youthful death amongst the Amarna population was shockingly high by any standard." Not many lived beyond 35. Two-thirds were dead by 20.

But even this backbreaking schedule may not be enough to explain the extreme death pattern at Amarna.

Even Akhanaten's son, Tutankhamen, died aged just 20; and archaeologists are now beginning to believe that there might also have been an epidemic here.

This corroborates the historical records of Egypt's principal enemy, the Hittites, which tell of the devastation of an epidemic caught from Egyptians captured in battle around the time of Tutankhamen's reign. It appears this epidemic may also have been the final blow to the people of Amarna.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: akhenaten; amarna; egypy; godsgravesglyphs; nefertiti; pharaoh
I believe it was Akhenaten that was believed to have had Marfan Syndrome. (Abe Lincoln Disease)
1 posted on 01/26/2008 10:18:42 PM PST by blam
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To: SunkenCiv
GGG Ping.

The Art of the Amarna Period

Akhenaten And Family

Akhenaton And Nefertiti

2 posted on 01/26/2008 10:24:43 PM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: blam
Marfan Syndrome

"Marfan syndrome is an autosomal dominant genetic disorder of the connective tissue characterized by disproportionately long limbs, long thin fingers, a typically tall stature, and a predisposition to cardiovascular abnormalities, specifically those affecting the heart valves and aorta."

3 posted on 01/26/2008 10:27:03 PM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: SunkenCiv

SunkenCiv's Daddy

4 posted on 01/26/2008 10:33:35 PM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: blam; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 1ofmanyfree; 24Karet; 3AngelaD; 49th; ...

· join list or digest · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post a topic ·

 
Gods
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Thanks Blam.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
GGG managers are Blam, StayAt HomeMother, and Ernest_at_the_Beach
 

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5 posted on 01/28/2008 12:03:50 PM PST by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/__________________Profile updated Wednesday, January 16, 2008)
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To: blam
Working in summer temperatures of 40C (104F), the workers would have had to chisel these out of the rock and transport them 1.5 miles (2.5 km) from the quarries to the city.

Think that's bad? You should see this place when the routers go down. I think I broke a nail the other day...

BTT

6 posted on 01/28/2008 12:16:17 PM PST by Billthedrill
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To: blam

“”The bones reveal a darker side to life, a striking reversal of the image that Akhenaten promoted, of an escape to sunlight and nature,’ says Professor Barry Kemp who is leading the excavations.”

Ahhhh. . . so Algore is Akhenaten reincarnate! That explains a lot.


7 posted on 01/28/2008 12:20:24 PM PST by Lee'sGhost (Johnny Rico picked the wrong girl!)
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To: blam
Perhaps this is why Akhenaton’s “reforms” died with him along with his city. Its also interesting they can draw such sweeping conclusions from one site. It doesn’t mention how many skeletons were found in this condition.

Also, Akhenaton lived during the New Kingdom.

The Old Kingdom Pharaohs who built the pyramids may have cared better for their workers. Hawass’ excavations of a worker’s cemetery there indicate frequent osteological signs of a rough life, but apparently primitive surgery was done successfully on them and they even staged a successful strike when some of their rations were eliminated.

Even by the standards of his own time, Akhenaton was a weird duck. Although I don;t believe his problem was Marfan’s syndrome, he clearly had a serious physical deformity which may have been hereditary. Recent work on Tutankhamen indicated he had a odd body shape for a male.

8 posted on 01/28/2008 1:23:33 PM PST by ZULU (Non nobis, non nobis Domine, sed nomini tuo da gloriam. God, guts and guns made America great.)
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To: blam; SunkenCiv

No body would have allowed that picture if it weren’t true to life.

Either Anknaten had a beer belly, kwashiorkor,...or he needed to be checked to see if he’d swallowed the spawn of the Alien.


9 posted on 01/28/2008 2:29:09 PM PST by wildbill
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To: wildbill
The Mystery of Akhenaten: Genetics or Aesthetics?

" While Akhenaten led a reform on the Ancient Egyptian religion, he also revolutionized Egyptian art. He broke the conventions of Egyptian art by showing himself in warm family scenes with his wife and children, and portraying himself and the rest of the royal family in a much more human and naturalistic manner than any of his predescessors had.
The most peculiar result of this art reform, however, was the portrayal of the physical characteristics of the pharaoh himself.

In sculptures and paintings of Akhenaten, he is shown as having a long, slender neck, a long face with a sharp chin, narrow, almond-shaped eyes, full lips, long arms and fingers, rounded thighs and buttocks, a soft belly, and enlarged breasts.
His odd appearance was particularly prominent in art from the early part of the reign. One early statue portrays the king in the nude and without genitalia of any kind.

These features have puzzled archaeologists since Akhenaten was first discovered in the early nineteenth century, and people have offered many explanations as to why he looked this way.

One of the early theories was that Akhenaten was actually a woman disguised as a man, and was following in Queen Hatshepsut's footsteps, but this idea has been abandoned (Aldred, C., 1988, pg. 231).
The theory that is most in favor at this time is that Akhenaten suffered from some kind of illness or syndrome which caused his odd appearance. The two most likely possibilities proposed in recent years are Froehlich's Syndrome (Aldred, C. 1988, Pg. 232), and Marfan's Syndrome (Redford, D., 1994), (Burridge, A.,1995)."


10 posted on 01/28/2008 2:43:40 PM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: blam
Hawwas chides anti-akhenaten statements

Monday, January 28, 2008

Secretary General of Egypt's Supreme council of Antiquities(ESCA) Zahi Hawwas slammed statements by British Professor Barry Kemp and Professor Jerry Rose, of the University of Arkansas, USA, distorting the history of pharaonic King Akhenaten and the construction of his city in Amarna.

"The bones reveal a darker side to life, a striking reversal of the image that Akhenaten promoted, of an escape to sunlight and nature" says professor kemp who is leading the excavations.

painted murals found in the tombs of high officials from the time show offering-tables piled high with food.But the bones of the ordinary people who lived in the city reveal a different picture, reported the BBC.

"Food is not abundant and certainly food is not of high nutritional quality".

The temples and palaces required thousands of large stone blocks. Working in summer temperatures of 40C (104F), the workers would have had to chisel these out of the rock and transport them 1.5 miles (2.5 km) from the quarries to the city.

"The incidence of youthful death amongst the Amarna population was shockingly high by any standard". Not many lived beyond 35.

Two-thirds were dead by 20. But even this backbreaking schedule may not be enough to explain the extreme death pattern at Amarna. Hawwas termed as nonsense the statements on Akhenaten that, he sid, were not based on any admissible scientific proofs.

Building Akhenaten city was an obsession for ancient Egyptians like the Giza Pyramids and workers wanted to realise a national achievement to be proud of, he said.

He added that ancient labourers used to live beside the royal palace and get the best food daily to be able to continue their work.

11 posted on 01/28/2008 2:56:14 PM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: blam
See, now, yesterday I was in a big hurry and missed that picture. That's underhanded, but I can one-up that. Heh heh heh... Image and video hosting by TinyPic

12 posted on 01/29/2008 7:55:59 AM PST by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/__________________Profile updated Wednesday, January 16, 2008)
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To: wildbill; blam
One reason for the preservation may be that after the weirdo fell from power (there's no record of his death, and his tomb at Amarna doesn't appear to have been used or finished) the site was stripped of a number of architectural elements and abandoned but for some of the Aten priests who couldn't or wouldn't leave, and never occupied again. Marfan Syndrome has been suggested as the explanation for his physical characteristics. He appears to have had a number of daughters, only a couple of whom made it through childhood. Unless his remains are found (or grave goods containing bones or teeth), there's not evidence that he was father to King Tut (cue song) or Smenkhkhare, but he may have been the ancestor of a couple of Dick Tracy villains. :')
13 posted on 01/29/2008 10:31:07 AM PST by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/__________________Profile updated Wednesday, January 16, 2008)
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To: blam

Hawas complaining about lack of scientific proof is a joke, IMO.


14 posted on 01/29/2008 10:40:19 AM PST by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/__________________Profile updated Wednesday, January 16, 2008)
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To: wildbill

“Either Anknaten had a beer belly, kwashiorkor,...or he needed to be checked to see if he’d swallowed the spawn of the Alien.”

Personally, I’m voting for the “beer belly” theory and sticking to it until archaeologists can prove me wrong. Swallowing the spawn of the Alien might be considered a form of “ancient waterboarding” and be construed as torture.


15 posted on 01/29/2008 11:49:43 AM PST by Towed_Jumper (Stephen Hopkins: Founding Father who had Cerebral Palsy.."My hand trembles, my heart does not.")
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To: SunkenCiv

btt


16 posted on 01/29/2008 11:52:31 AM PST by beebuster2000 (choice is not not peace or war, but small war now, or big war later masquerading as peace now.)
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 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach
Just updating the GGG information, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.


17 posted on 06/19/2013 8:11:25 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (McCain or Romney would have been worse, if you're a dumb ass.)
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